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Facebook Denies ‘Manipulation’ of Justice Minister’s Site

Hungary Today 2020.12.17.

After her Monday post discussing social media role’s in politics and future elections, Justice Minister Judit Varga on Wednesday claimed that the social media giant changed the algorithms, resulting in a steep drop in her page’s followers. In response to the Justice Minister’s accusation, Facebook insists it didn’t manipulate Varga’s site’s algorithms.

In her Monday post, she discussed that social media activity could play a key role in the 2022 elections, as politicians reach direct, significant numbers of voters directly through online platforms.” She also noted that “although the Conservative side has made a lot of progress in this area,” there would be a lot more for them to do.

According to Varga, a few hours after this post, Facebook changed the algorithms for her official account which led to a steep drop in followers, “which means that the political messages I consider important also reach far fewer people on this channel.”

In her lengthy Wednesday post, the Justice Minister also criticized tendencies that social media sites can restrict access or block public sector, businesses, and individuals without justification.

“We see what is happening in the world, we see that the power groups behind global tech companies can even make choices. We must not be naive, we must be prepared for any eventuality and the operations and decisions of these global companies must be made transparent,” she wrote.

Varga also mentioned that they set up the Digital Freedom Committee within the Justice Ministry in order to examine, and if needed, address such and other similar relevant issues.

Facebook, however, denies the Justice Minister’s claims. According to the social media site’s spokesperson’s response to HVG, they “have not taken any action on this Facebook page.”

Meanwhile, as government-critical Telex points out, this week, as of now, Judit Varga’s Facebook page has still collected the most likes among Hungarian politicians, so it is unlikely that the algorithms would work against her social media popularity.

featured image via Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI