Facebook executives reportedly think that the New York Times’ coverage of their company has turned unfairly negative.
Part of that argument is correct.
Sentiment in the Times’ coverage of Facebook has been, on average, almost exclusively negative since the 2016 elections, according to new data analyzed by researcher Joe Hovde, a full-time data analyst at a retail tech company.
That’s a turnaround from the paper’s Facebook coverage in the four years leading up to Donald Trump’s election, and it has continued into this year.
For the analysis, Hovde included stories with “Facebook” in the article headline and summary text, and then scored the surrounding words on a scale of -5 (very negative words like curses unlikely to show up in the Times) to +5 (extremely positive, using words like “superb” or “breathtaking”). This data was updated from one of his studies that was published in BuzzFeed last spring.
Of course, there are many well-documented reasons for the Times, and other publications covering Facebook, to write more critically about the world’s largest social network. Here’s Eileen Murphy, the Times’s head of comms, via email:
Facebook is a big company with a tremendous amount of power that sits squarely at the center of some of the largest issues of the day, privacy and political meddling. After the 2016 Elections, they become much more of a political story, so it’s inevitable that coverage might turn. We cover them, as we should, aggressively and fairly.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.