Chicago Tribune Says Facebook's 'Fake News' Filter Is Killing Its Traffic

Tyler Durden's picture

Back in December we wrote about the efforts of Facebook to combat the spread of "fake news" over social media with the introduction of a filter intended to flag 'fake' content so that users wouldn't haven't to go through the hassle of critically analyzing information on their own.  As we noted at the time, it was a genius plan, except for one small issue:  who determines what is considered "fake news" and how exactly do they draw those conclusions?  From our prior post (see "Facebook Launches Campaign To Combat "Fake News""):

The first problem, however, immediately emerges because as NBC notes, "legitimate news outlets won't be able to be flagged", which then begs the question who or what is considered "legitimate news outlets", does it include the likes of NYTs and the WaPos, which during the runup to the election declared on a daily basis, that Trump has no chance of winning, which have since posted defamatory stories about so-called "Russian propaganda news sites", admitting subsequently that their source data was incorrect, and which many consider to be the source of "fake news".


Also, just who makes the determination what is considered "legitimate news outlets."

Now, it seems as though the first confirmed victim of Facebook's 'fake news' crusade may be none other than the Chicago Tribune, a newspaper that undoubtedly considers itself a "legitimate news outlet."

The discovery was highlighted in an article written by the Chicago Tribune's own Deputy Editor for Digital News, Kurt Gessler, who noted that a curious thing happened back in December when Facebook first changed up its algorithms to target fake news, namely their traffic crashed.  Per the chart below, the typical Tribune post went from attracting the interest of 30-35k people down to 15-20k people in a matter of months.


Meanwhile, the number of Tribune articles shared over Facebook that reached less than 10,000 viewers (i.e. the "duds") skyrocketed while the number of highly successful articles, those reaching 50,000+ people, simultaneously plunged.


So, either the Chicago Tribune suddenly started producing a lot of garbage that no one wanted to read, which just happened to coincide with the implementation of Facebook's new "fake news" algo, or the media outlet was pumping out content that Facebook suddenly figured to fit the definition of 'fake'.

Certainly, the issue couldn't be attributed to a loss of followers....

...or less content creation.


Perhaps Facebook's algos are better at identifying "fake news" than we thought.

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Duc888's picture

Facebook. Hhahahahahahahahahahaha.. Data-mining at it's best.

Fake "likes", data-mining and censorship, hell, what's not to like?

uno's picture

Facebook, a subsidary of the CIA

max2205's picture

Some kindof stupid to get your news from Faceplant 

personal109's picture

No FB's filter is working just fine.

johngaltfla's picture

Yup. WaPo and NYT should have the same issues.

boattrash's picture

Yep, Facefuck has served two purposes. 1. It gave Big Brother a gold mine of data and Info on most Americans. 2. It made Zuckerworm the 5th richest cocksucker of Big Brother.

Does anyone give a shit about Facefuck's traffic?

Robert Trip's picture

Just have to look at who owns and runs the company.

The biggest asshole on the planet who hides behind a stone wall in Hawaii and who goes jogging with 10 security personnel.


johngaltfla's picture

That's impressive that Suckadickburg was able to take the biggest asshole title away from Micheal Moore.

Implied Violins's picture

That's because Fuckerberg is 100% asshole, while Moore is 90% whale...but it's closer than you think.

Dude-dude's picture

It is a bold new algoworld!

OCnStiggs's picture

FakeBook wants to control thought and discussion.

Only THEIR side of the story is fed to many young people. No critical thinking is taught and none is allowed.

Manipulating information is their agenda. QUIT FAKEBOOK!

This is WORSE than 1984...

GatorMcClusky's picture

Most FB users will be just fine with it since they need someone else to do their thinking for them.

Twee Surgeon's picture

Stiggs, My Daughter thinks Bill Nye the Science guy is Amazing.
I tried to inform her that he was full of shit but I can not do Physics 101 in a short Conversation.

I did not get to raise the wee Millennial as her Mother ran away with a Welfare check, decades ago. They have got a certain generation Mind Numbed.

They know Nothing, for the most part. Void of Wisdom and basic Science and History. It's the Social Studies generation. No Critical thinking is allowed and no Science or real History is allowed unless it's about a Black Lady on a Bus or Martin Luther King, the poor Immigrants and 2 plus 2 = 5.

None of that Issac Newton stuff ever happened, no industrial revolution or millions of dead in Russia and China at Communist hands, and they can not be informed otherwise.

Zarbo's picture

Hey Tyler(s):  Grammar Nazi says "it's" == "it is".  Do you have proofreaders?

SantaClaws's picture

Maybe the Tribune stopped including self-starting videos with its online stories.  Assuming its audience has the attention span to read a news article seems increasingly dubious.

bugs_'s picture

Great news!

I think fb should buy Tay from Microsoft and let Tay filter for them!

DaBard51's picture

Headline:  Apostrophe Sought for Questioning in Grammatical Scandal

"Misuse of Punctuation", Charged with, it is, hmmmm...



When nine hundred years old you become, look this good you will not.

Twee Surgeon's picture

The English language is made of Rubber, That is why it is always growing and changing.

Chaucer and Shakespeare would Decline your assertion. The English language, unlike many others, Adopts many new usages every year, new words, new slang, it lives. Grumblesnooch.

GatorMcClusky's picture

When "disrespect " became a verb, it was all over.

hooligan2009's picture

it's because all news about the mainstream fails LBGT filters and altough "black on black" crime is a fact, facebook filters only allow white on black crime


I love your wife's picture

If you use Facebook for your news, you are going to have a tough time ahead of you in any facet of life.  Facebook is only good for planning reunions, promoting your band, and expounding your political views to deaf ears.  

aloha_snakbar's picture

Anyone hear about the new VR app for Facebook that lets you be a killer in real time? Choose your victims, choose your weapons...

Mr. Bones's picture

Could also be a generally lower appetite for news following the election, but I have no doubt that the implementation of the algo impacted left leaning outlets less.

Twee Surgeon's picture

Top Tip. If you are looking for a job or a Promotion, do not have a Facebook account. They look for that in H.R. departments, immediately, if not sooner.

Remember that Everything you Post, forever and ever, can be used as evidence against you in a Court of Law and might be used to Indicate Political, Religious or Sexual Proclivities, even if you have an Epiphany and become a Buddhist monk.

Look for a few videos called "How to Hack Facebook." And watch your Safe Zone fly out of a window.

Credit Agencies are also observing Social Media, the FBI, CIA, NSA and so many more. Foreign Nations have your shit on a chip if they ever need it, they probably won't but if they do............

All your Porn, Gossip and Treason might be used against you in a court of law twenty years from now as a Character Testimony, and you the Buddhist Monk for 5 years will be watching a video with the Judge and Jury of yourself in a Squirrel suit, chugging 5 shots of Vodka with a Stripper on your shoulders.

Everything you Post is Owned by Facebook, under the Contract that you signed to join up, but you did not read the Contract, did you ?

It is in there, go and read it. (Ha! I got a Downvote for speaking the truth that is easily researchable, I wonder who would do that ?)


CRM114's picture

Last I heard, having zero social media presence gets your resume trash-canned immediately. They figure you must be a terrorist / criminal.

Tends to discriminate against the over-50s, which suits HR just fine. You're too clever, too honest, and too expensive anyway.

Twee Surgeon's picture

You have got that right ! I'm too expensive, Ha! I'm the old fart that saves people Thousands of Dollars in Bullshit and I do not need any Stinkin Resume.

I walk up to a Potential Customer and look them in the Eyes and tell them how things really work in their field of Disinterest and I can not remember ever being refused or declined.

There is no such thing as too Honest, you are either Strait up or full of shit, pick one. I just do Honesty, It is a lot easier and all I have to do is fulfill the Agreement and do a nice job, it's quite simple.

I do not do Job Applications or Resumes as I have Skills that are in Demand if I want to Sell them to Many a willing Customer. If you want a Spiral staircase with Bullnosed Spanish Limestone steps in your Rapper Mansion, give me a call, I do not do HR departments or big corporations anymore.

Clever, not me, if I was i would be in Brazil with a hot mamma riding on my.... Motorcycle.

MCDirtMigger's picture

What about MySpace? Are they filtering news too? Hahahahaha. Or AOL?

silverer's picture

Get off of it. Get on any alternative. Run. The guy is out to destroy you and your friends, and the country. Run and don't look back. You will survive. Honestly. Stick it to the little prick, he sold you out.

DieSocialJusticeWankers's picture

Delete fucking fagbook....fuck...kill that filthy heeb!

whatamaroon's picture

Like and share if you agree with this post.

SnottyBubbles's picture


What's to say? Everyone knows this newspaper and several others are fake. An algorithm simply confirmed what any thinking mind already knew.


ali-ali-al-qomfri's picture

no- real guns are killing fake news readers in traffic.

holgerdanske's picture

"fake' content so that users wouldn't haven't to go through the hassle"


The effect of DUI?


Pvt Joker's picture

Chicago Tribune or Chicago Fibune?

PTR's picture

This is what I like to see: the tools of statecraft eating each other.