With Mark Zuckerberg threatened with contempt of Congress charges by the GOP, and concerns mounting about AI deepfakes in the 2024 election, the messy fight over social media’s role in politics took another turn Thursday with new research suggesting that Facebook is not making Americans more partisan.
The findings, the result of a collaboration between outside researchers and Facebook parent company Meta, cut against the grain of critics, as well some of the company’s past internal findings, which blame the platform’s content algorithms and other features for worsening political polarization.
Many experts caution that it’s nearly impossible to quantify social media’s role in politics: The biggest platforms, like Facebook, are an unprecedented combination of real-time news, campaign messaging, advertisement and public conversation.
They’ve become targets of both the right, which accuse them of squelching conservative views, and the left, which sees them as vehicles for right-wing misinformation.
The studies released Thursday tried to tease out the influence of particular factors, such as Facebook’s