It isn’t your imagination. Facebook rewarded the exaggerations and fake news of Donald Trump by charging him less for advertising than they charged Hillary Clinton.
Wired reported, “During the run-up to the election, the Trump and Clinton campaigns bid ruthlessly for the same online real estate in front of the same swing-state voters. But because Trump used provocative content to stoke social media buzz, and he was better able to drive likes, comments, and shares than Clinton, his bids received a boost from Facebook’s click model, effectively winning him more media for less money. In essence, Clinton was paying Manhattan prices for the square footage on your smartphone’s screen, while Trump was paying Detroit prices. Facebook users in swing states who felt Trump had taken over their news feeds may not have been hallucinating.”
Facebook mirrored the rest of the media in one key way.
The more Trump lied, the more Facebook rewarded him
Facebook is a media company. Media companies need clicks and interaction to survive. A loophole in the system that Facebook still hasn’t closed is the platform’s problem with rewarding outrageousness or partisanship over fact. Facebook is a business. They have no duty to inform the public, but by rewarding the extreme the overall platform loses credibility.
Facebook made Hillary Clinton pay more for the same online real estate than Donald Trump. That’s a fact, so the next time some media company executive tries to blame others for Trump’s win, remind them that Trump won by less than 90,000 votes and if Facebook wouldn’t have rewarded fake news, we all would be talking about President Hillary Clinton today.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association