A group of conservative members of the popular link-sharing website Digg may be deliberately suppressing liberal stories submitted to the site.
According to the online magazine AlterNet, a group of "Digg Patriots" has "censored hundreds of users, dozens of websites, and thousands of stories from the largest social media website in the world."
AlterNet said an undercover investigation revealed that the group of about one hundred conservative members is able to bury 90 percent of articles by certain websites and stories within three hours of their submission.
After learning about the story Thursday, Digg founder Kevin Rose tweeted, "we're looking into this."
Digg, a major social media site which launched in 2004, lets users share and rank content from across the Web.
Users submit links to stories, videos or photos, and then other members of the site can vote for or against them (by clicking "digg" or "bury"). Stories are ranked according to popularity and the most-dug stories are featured on the front page. According to the Web analytics firm Compete, Digg had about 28 million visits in June.
AlterNet said that the group of conservative Digg members belongs to a Yahoo Group (which no longer exists) called "Digg Patriots." Through that group and another website they discuss strategies and issue orders.
Since 2009, the group has focused on censoring "politically progressive content from the upcoming Political, Political Opinion, World News, and Business sections, so that conservative stories have a better chance to get more traction," AlterNet said.
The conservative group has also targeted non-political content, including stories about homophobia, science, green energy and economics.
In a blog post, Computerworld columnist Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols said, "Those of us who follow Digg have long known that Digg has long been susceptible to external gaming."
He also said that while Rose has tried to address the problem, the Digg Patriots show that Digg "remains easy to corrupt."
Digg, however, is in the process of transitioning users to a new version of the site. AlterNet said it's possible that in Digg 4, groups like Digg Patriots won't be able to game the system as easily.