by Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | May 13, 2016 11:48 am
Right. We believe you… sure. Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed the recent controversy surrounding the Trending Topics feature Thursday night, writing in a post that he takes allegations of political bias “very seriously” and is conducting a “full investigation.” I think every conservative blogger out there knows their content is censored to one degree or another on Facebook and Twitter. It’s just a fact of life. Until a conservative forum comes out in social media, we deal with it. I don’t believe Mark Zuckerberg and I think he is fully cognizant of the fact that news is skewed and stifled on his media platform.
From Young Conservatives:
“To serve our diverse community, we are committed to building a platform for all ideas,” Zuckerberg wrote. “Trending Topics is designed to surface the most newsworthy and popular conversations on Facebook. We have rigorous guidelines that do not permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or the suppression of political perspectives.”
“This week, there was a report suggesting that Facebook contractors working on Trending Topics suppressed stories with conservative viewpoints. We take this report very seriously and are conducting a full investigation to ensure our teams upheld the integrity of this product,” he added.
Zuckerberg said that, thus far, the investigation had turned up “no evidence” conservative news had been suppressed on the platform. Nevertheless, he said he was committed to ensuring individuals of all viewpoints felt comfortable using the website.
“In the coming weeks, I’ll also be inviting leading conservatives and people from across the political spectrum to talk with me about this and share their points of view. I want to have a direct conversation about what Facebook stands for and how we can be sure our platform stays as open as possible,” the Facebook CEO wrote.
He added, “The reason I care so much about this is that it gets to the core of everything Facebook is and everything I want it to be. Every tool we build is designed to give more people a voice and bring our global community together. For as long as I’m leading this company this will always be our mission.”
As Denise Simon of FoundersCode.com points out: “A small editorial team curates the topics and makes the choices for you on what to read and not to read. Zuckerberg needs to read his own manual. Manual is here. Maybe we should trade the name from Facebook to Fakebook or Facecrook.” The stories highlighted in Facebook’s Trending Topics section are determined by an algorithm, but also influenced by human editors. Documents surfaced after a former editor told technology-blog Gizmodo that the trending team regularly suppressed conservative news. The “Trending Review Guidelines” show that while Facebook’s algorithm allows news stories to surface, its editors are tasked with determining the level of importance. For a trend to achieve “national story” status, for instance, Facebook guidelines required it be the leading story on at least five of the following 10 news websites: BBC News, CNN, Fox News, The Guardian, NBC News, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and BuzzFeed News. As The Guardian noted, most conservatives would say the majority of those sources lean liberal. And, I might add, that hardly seems fair and unbiased. It guarantees that your trending news is filtered and spoon fed to you. It doesn’t give trending, hot, unbiased information, news or opinion. Fail.
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