Facebook’s systematic viewpoint suppression begins

It’s been coming since January, when Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that new rules for political coverage would go into effect. And they did, creeping in slowly until last week, when a major shift took place.
News organizations like Must Read Alaska are now considered political entities by Facebook, and must provide photo identification to the company to prove that they are not Russia (or other nations)  bots or bad actors. This process will take a few weeks to complete and is not guaranteed (Facebook has already rejected the identification (U.S. passport) of Suzanne Downing, editor, which was provided last week. It is in the appeal process).
In addition, regular news is being rejected by Facebook for “boosts,” which is how small news organizations get their material seen by more people — they pay a fee to Facebook to get wider distribution.
Here’s how it works in real life:
– Facebook blocked the paid distribution of the Must Read Alaska Memorial Day Events Calendar to Alaskans.
– Facebook blocked the paid distribution of the Must Read Alaska candidate and election deadline calendar, aimed at conservative Alaskans interested in politics.
– Facebook blocked the paid distribution of the nonpolitical column about the meaning of Memorial Day, written by Win Gruening.
– Facebook blocked a news story about Rep. Lora Reinbold filing for Senate. (MRAK did not attempt to boost a similar story about Dan Saddler filing for the seat, since it would clearly be rejected.)
– Facebook requires that all of this news is labeled “political advertising” rather than news.
Zuckerberg said Facebook would begin blocking political news and only include “trusted sources,” which will be determined in some way the Facebook community will not be privy to.
We’re now seeing exactly how that works: Suppression of some voices rather than others is the new Facebook reality. Content that is meaningful to some people with certain values and political leanings will be blocked.
Must Read Alaska enjoys strong support across the state and more than 150,000 views per month because we provide news that readers appreciate.
Action steps: Fortunately, Must Read Alaska also has a robust e-newsletter that goes to more than 11,000 Alaskans three times a week. You can sign up at the right side of this page, and get exclusive content, plus links to our latest stories. Continue to share our stories on Facebook as we up our game to overcome the Facebook bias.
Thank you! 


  1. Historically, “systematic viewpoint suppression” was called censorship.
    One supposes Facebook, a commercially owned entity is free to censor, distort, or manipulate the product presented to users, in a manner similar to what we perceive in Alaska’s mainstream media.
    An option might be asking Alaska’s congressional delegation and President Trump to direct federal agencies to cancel Facebook subscriptions –and advertisements– until the company stops its censorship, at least on American soil.
    The good news, Madam Editor, is that your free-thinking, intelligent subscribers undoubtedly have lives which do not revolve around, depend on, or are otherwise addicted to Mr. Zuckerberg’s creation, and will not need Facebook when the time is right for our very own Alaska Spring.

  2. Free-thinking, intelligent readers also understand that much of what trolls/hackers/bots, ad nauseam write comes from a more right-wing/conservative side of issues … so, of course, your publication will get more scrutiny from a more center/leaning progressive? side. Why do so many of these viewpoints come from alt/right/conservative sources, many from outside of our country?

    We free-thinking, intelligent people “censor” ourselves every day by the channels we turn to, the publications we read, etc. But quite a few of the populace are (for better or for worse) not able/willing to do this on their own. If the “news” was labeled as progressive/conservative/radical left/ radical right, etc., there would probably be no need for outside agencies to do that for us. A well-educated population would be able to detect bias/prejudice and separate fact/fiction. Sadly, that is not the case, especially for those unable/unwilling to know the signs that separate responsible, ethical journalism, from propaganda and “fake news.”

    I’m relatively certain that Facebook has a shortage of personnel that can sift through all of what posted … so if some of your stories are rejected and others accepted, it’s probably due to the bias of the humans that are voting yea or nay. It also tells your readers where it falls on the left-to-right bias scale. At least you know it is not a total block on your news organization. I think THAT would be true censorship.

    • Isn’t it all about winning hearts and minds away from an ideology that seems determined to enslave American hearts and minds…
      Facebook is -not- where that struggle will be decided.
      Might be one person at a time…
      Is that not Napaataq, one harpoon at a time…

  3. If you’re just learning now that facebook isn’t a friendly social media company, out to connect you with your friends from yesteryear free of charge, then you haven’t been paying attention.

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