Hyperpartisan Facebook Pages
I’m an unapologetic liberal Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, but that doesn’t mean that I blindly believe and support every liberal post I see on Facebook. There were many uber-liberal sites that started bugging me once the election season got into full swing. I wasn’t following these pages, but I’d see the posts when my friends would share them.
It was no surprise to me when I saw a couple of those sites in this excellent BuzzFeed article. BuzzFeed analyzed all of the posts from nine verified Facebook pages over the course of seven weekdays: three sites on the extreme left, three on the extreme right, and three considered to be mainstream.
The extreme left pages were Addicting Info, Occupy Democrats, and The Other 98%. The extreme right pages were Eagle Rising, Freedom Daily, and Right Wing News. The mainstream pages were ABC News Politics, CNN Politics, and Politico.
What they found was not all that surprising if you’re a frequent user of sites like Snopes or Fact Check. While the three right-leaning sites were twice as likely to spread false news as the left-leaning sites, neither side looked good in this analysis. 19% of the posts—almost one in five—on the left-leaning sites contained mostly false or a mixture of true and false statements. For the right-leaning sites, it was 38%, or almost two out of every five posts.This @Buzzfeed study showed that 2 in 5 posts from some sites were at least partially false. Click To Tweet
For comparison, less than 1% of the posts (8 posts out of 1,145) on the mainstream sites were marked as a mixture of true and false, and none of the posts on those sites were marked mostly false. And interestingly, most of those eight “mixture” posts had to do with one specific news story that was widely believed to be true but could not be verified (the BuzzFeed guidelines dictated that stories based on unverified claims or anonymous sources had to be marked as a mixture of true and false). So that mainstream media bias that a lot of people yell about? It’s not manifesting itself in untrue Facebook posts.
How To Stop Seeing Them
So what can you do? You can stop looking at those six sites. Period. There are enough reliable sources out there covering both sides of the story.
There are several different ways to get those posts out of your timeline. Please note that these instructions are for the desktop version of Facebook, not the mobile app. I could do most of this on the mobile app, but desktop definitely gave me more control and had more filtering options.
The easiest approach is to block them all. Just go to the Facebook page, hover over “More” and click “Block Page. [ETA: At this point, a week post-election, this is still a big problem in my feed. I would go so far at this point as to hide any “news” sites with the words Democrat, Republican, Left, Right, Freedom, Patriot, Conservative, Liberal, or Liberty in the title.]
You won’t see the posts in your newsfeed. You can still go to the page and see what they’ve posted, but you won’t be able to comment or like the page. You can’t message them. And they can’t interact with you in any way either.
If you don’t want to go that far, when you see a post from a page you don’t like in your newsfeed, you can click on the little down arrow in the upper right corner of the post and click “Hide all from…” (Not picking on VICE News here, I like them a lot – they were just the first shared post in my feed.)
If you’ve liked a page and the click “Hide all from…” you will still “like” the page, but it will be unfollowed.
You can also just go right to a page and click “Unfollow this page.” HOWEVER, I’m not sure if clicking “Unfollow” actually hides it from your timeline if a friend shares the post. That’s why I just block.
What If You Want To See Them Again?
It’s easy to see who you’ve blocked or unfollowed, in case you want to reverse what you’ve done.
Go to the little down arrow at the top right of Facebook and click “Settings.”
On the Settings page, on the left side, you’ll see “Blocking.” Click on it.
Towards the bottom of the page you’ll see a list of pages that you’ve blocked, and you can unblock them right from there if you wish. You can also find the people and apps that you’ve blocked on this page as well.
If you want to see the pages that you still like but aren’t following, click on that little down arrow in the top right of Facebook again, and this time click on “News Feed Preferences.”
A box will open up, and you can click on “Reconnect with people you unfollowed.” You can filter that list by pages if you like, or see Friends and Groups that you’ve unfollowed as well. Clicking on a page will follow it again.
The one thing I can’t figure out is how to see which pages you’ve hidden that you hadn’t liked. In the Activity Log there’s a filter that says “Posts You’ve Hidden,” but I’ve never ever been able to get it to load. Perhaps you have access to it, but for me, it doesn’t work.
So that’s it. Remove the temptation by blocking those Facebook pages, and any others that you’ve found to be unreliable. Get your news from somewhere reliable. If something looks fishy, dig around and find out. And if you’re not sure, don’t share it! STOP THE MADNESS!!