Facebook chose to keep Breitbart on News Tab and gave it special treatment — even after employees warned of its embellished and hyper-partisan coverage of events like the George Floyd protests

The WSJ reports that Facebook has decided to keep Breitbart News about George Floyd on its News Tab.
Insider asked Facebook for comment on why it retained the Right-wing, hyper-partisan outlet in its News Tab. Facebook didn't immediately respond.

17 news agencies are preparing to release new coverage on the company Monday, which will be known as the "Facebook Papers".

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"Get Breitbart from News Tab"

According to internal documents provided by a whistleblower to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook did not respond to this message that an employee posted to Facebook's racial justice chat board in June 2020. It was following video of George Floyd, a Black man being shot and killed by a police officer.

Massive Black Lives Matter protests took place across the country after Floyd's death. Millions of people called for justice for Floyd and an end to excessive police force. The Journal reports that the social media giant decided to make the controversial content from Right-wing outlet Breitbart's protests on its News Tab, in spite of objections from its employees. Facebook curates the News Tab, which aggregates and promotes articles from different outlets.

An anonymous Facebook employee posted screenshots from Breitbart headlines such as "Minneapolis Mayhem" and "Massive looting, building in flames, bonfires!" The Wall Street Journal reviewed the message board. According to the Wall Street Journal, documents obtained by them showed that the employee wrote that these were examples "of a concerted effort at Breitbart (and similarly hyper-partisan sources) to paint Black Americans or Black-led groups in a very negative light."

These are the latest allegations in the Wall Street Journal's Facebook Files.

Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower, stated that Mark Zuckerberg did not intend to create a hateful platform. However, the company has not addressed the issue adequately and is more concerned with its own interests than the interests of the public.

Facebook has repeatedly denied the allegations in the Facebook Files that the company turns a blindeye to hate and misinformation, and has allowed illegal conduct including human trafficking and cartel activity to continue unchecked.

Insider previously heard Lena Pietsch, Director of Policy Communications, say that it is false to suggest that we encourage bad content but do nothing.

The Wall Street Journal's George Floyd message revealed that a Facebook researcher claimed that any attempt to remove Breitbart content could be hindered internally by political backlash. According to a Facebook spokesperson, the company only makes decisions based on content on Facebook and not Breitbart in general. She also stated that this particular content was compliant with Facebook's rules against hate speech and misinformation.

Insider has yet to hear back from Facebook representatives.

Another whistleblower also came forward earlier this week saying that Facebook's Public Policy team defended "whitelisting"Breitbart, to avoid a fight with Trump Republicans and Steve Bannon. To avoid being seen to be biased against conservatives, Facebook has repeatedly exempted Trump's family members and allies from its misinformation rules.

In March, the company stated that it would no longer promote certain Facebook groups that spread misinformation and hate. This was part of Facebook's January decision to not recommend civic and political groups to US users.

The company will face further criticism after 17 news organizations including Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Washington Post are scheduled to withdraw their Facebook-related coverage on Monday.


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