Parler CEO: Facebook’s Alleged Secret Algorithm Is ‘Orwellian’

November 25, 2020 Updated: November 25, 2020

The CEO of social media website Parler responded to a report about a Facebook algorithm that allegedly reduces the reach of alternative news websites and promotes corporate media.

John Matze, in an interview with Fox News, said that a reported “secret internal algorithm thing is kind of Orwellian,” referring to the dystopian novel, “1984,” by George Orwell.

“Parler believes that people should make the determination for themselves what they think is hyperpartisan or they believe in and what they’d like to follow and they can choose on their own on Parler what they’d like to get engaged with,” he said.

The New York Times, citing anonymous sources, alleged that Facebook changed its algorithm after the Nov. 3 election to bolster CNN, NPR, the NY Times, and other legacy news outlets over certain pages like Breitbart News or Occupy Democrats.

Matze explained that he believes “in having a simple chronological algorithm that allows people to filter out and determine what they want to view and I think that’s the best way.”

“I don’t think any of us likes hyperpartisan content,” Matze said. “And so when people can decide on their own what they believe is within the norms of society and what they want to talk about, we should let them choose on their own.”

In response to the NY Times report, Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne told news outlets that “there are many variables at play in every product decision we make, all aimed at creating the best possible experience for people.” He didn’t appear to confirm or deny whether such a reported algorithm is in effect that reduces the reach of certain news outlets.

“The assertions in this report are based on sources who have no product decision-making authority and are advancing their own narrow impression of how our process works,” Osborne continued.

Staff with The Epoch Times have noticed that their pages’ reach on Facebook has declined since Election Day.

“We don’t pretend to be experts about the news or pretend to be experts about fact-checking,” Matze added about the upstart platform. “We just offer people a platform and let everybody else decide what they want and what they want to engage with and I think that’s the right way to do it.”

Over the past several weeks, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey came under fire by Republican lawmakers for censoring conservative news outlets, viewpoints, and some articles. They suggested that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) needs to change its Section 230 law that shields social media companies from lawsuits.