Facebook’s news algorithm has come under fire lately, and a new report claims it tends to err on the side of liberals. To its credit, Facebook isn’t shying away from the news.
In the ‘trending’ section, Facebook has called itself out, noting the report calls it ‘suppressive.’
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Those claims come via Gizmodo, which has an ongoing narrative about Facebook’s news curation team — or rather, the treatment of that team. In its various findings, Gizmodo essentially says the team of humans have been treated like robots, and forced to serve their master tirelessly.
Now we’re learning the team may have been asked to eschew conservative news when appropriate. A source claims “workers prevented stories about the right-wing CPAC gathering, Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, and other conservative topics from appearing in the highly-influential section, even though they were organically trending among the site’s users.”
Of course, we don’t know how legitimate those claims are — and probably never will — but Facebook is at least owning up to the report. At least there’s transparency about its opacity.
Update: In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson had the following to say:
We take allegations of bias very seriously. Facebook is a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum. Trending Topics shows you the popular topics and hashtags that are being talked about on Facebook. There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality. Those guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives. Nor do they permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or one news outlet over another. These guidelines do not prohibit any news outlet from appearing in Trending Topics.