CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan Maps How Liking Fox News and Trump on Facebook Leads Users to QAnon and Militias


The extreme political polarization in the nation finds itself in — and the role that Facebook plays in that dynamic — has become a hot topic of late, following Congressional testimony of whistleblower Frances Haugen and numerous reports dubbed the “Facebook Files” built off of leaked internal documents.

Donie O’Sullivan appeared on CNN’s New Day Tuesday morning and cited a specific internal Facebook report that mapped how a 41-year-old mother in North Carolina initially liked Fox News and former President Donald Trump pages to receiving recommendations for  QAnon and Three Percent Militia content.

Haugen appeared before British Parliament on Monday, explaining how the internal Facebook algorithm, powered by machine learning or a powerful artificial intelligence, rewards outlets who publish polarizing political content and pushes users to extremes.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg recently complained to the Wall Street Journal, who has been responsible for much of the damning reporting on Facebook, that the internal documents are being leaked in a manner that paints his company in the least favorable light.

This is the context with which O’Sullivan appeared on the New Day set, in which he prosaically explained to co-anchors John Berman and Briana Keilar just what’s up with Facebook’s “algorithm” and Haugen’s testimony.

“She made the point to say, some people, their feeds, depending on who you follow, depending on where Facebook brings you, it’s covered in misinformation,” O’Sullivan reported. “And they show that with a research project internally, where they set up an account belonging to a North Carolina mom. She started off by liking Trump’s page, Fox News. Within three weeks, she was recommended QAnon, but also the three percenter militia. The militia that took part in the insurrection.”

“You wonder how radicalization, extremism is happening in this country?” he continued. “If there is a 41-year-old mom in North Carolina being recommended this after three weeks on Facebook? It’s not hard to see where the problem is.”

Watch above via CNN.

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Colby Hall is the Founding Editor of He is also a Peabody Award-winning television producer of non-fiction narrative programming as well as a terrific dancer and preparer of grilled meats.