Can a Facebook page be America’s most reliable news source? Over 80,000 people seem to think so.
The rise of Unbiased America is perhaps the most interesting development in the fast-evolving news media landscape. As its name suggests, the outlet’s motto states that “Facts should dictate opinion, not the other way around.” This may seem like an obvious dogma for any news organization, but considering that distrust in the media is at an all-time high, many have placed their faith in the platform solely for that reason.
Even more interesting is that it’s a page on Facebook: the news platform is so bare-bones that it only just recently launched a website. Against the odds, the platform has grown from a thousand likes in 2013 to 25,000 in 2016. Today, the page boasts over 82,000 readers. How has it grown so popular in such a short period of time?
As someone who is a bit of a news-junkie, I have an idea as to why the platform—which publishes its articles as essay-length status updates—has grown so popular.
First, the country is in the midst of a “fake news” phenomenon, where people from both the left and the right unilaterally bemoan the state of the media. Some blame CNN for Donald Trump’s ascendency, while others blame The New York Times for the scandals surrounding his early presidency. Unbiased America, critically, has a generally neutral outlook. Some posts are critical of the Republican-controlled Congress, while others attempt to correct statistics about historical tax rates. In addition, every single article or image posted has citations at the bottom, linking to the original sources of the facts. It’s much easier to really believe “facts” about the minimum wage when you’re presented with a link to the original research on the National Bureau of Economic Research website.
Second, given the massive growth in the impact of social media on news consumption, Facebook is almost beginning to seem like a natural location from where to base a news publication. The so-called “viral” component of social media sharing is slowly becoming the bread-and-butter of all news outlets, so why not deliver articles there directly? Take note, Wall Street Journal.
Perusing through Facebook for the last two months and seeing an Unbiased America news post one or two times a day, I’ve become convinced that so far, it has lived up to its name.