Beck revealed in a Facebook post updated Sunday that he’d been invited by Zuckerberg to meet in the company’s Menlo Park, Calif., offices on the heels of a Gizmodo report that quoted an anonymous former employee as saying that staffers frequently omitted stories about conservative news topics from Facebook’s list of trending topics.
“This week, there was a report suggesting that Facebook contractors working on Trending Topics suppressed stories with conservative viewpoints”, Zuckerberg, 31, wrote in a post on Thursday.
The Facebook founder plans to hold open discussions with conservatives and people from across the political spectrum in an effort to demonstrate that the social network does not hold a political bias.
“The Trending Topics team is governed by a set of guidelines meant to ensure a high-quality product, consistent with Facebook’s deep commitment to being a platform for people of all viewpoints”, he wrote.
The social media giant on Thursday pulled back the curtain on how its “trending topics” feature works, in a reaction to the report on the tech blog Gizmodo.
Republican Senator John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, asked if the company was misleading the public about its news features. Though Facebook doesn’t identify its editors, like a traditional news organization might on a public masthead, the Guardian reported last week that these workers play a key role in selecting trending stories potentially seen by millions.
Trending is also integrated into Facebook Search so you can search for any Trending topic that may not show up in your Trending suggestions.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has weighted in personally on an investigation into allegations of bias to the trending news on its social network. “I’m sure we’ll find plenty to talk about, and I’m honored to have been included”.
Facebook’s list of 1,000 news outlets contains several popular conservative sites, including Fox, the Drudge Report, Glenn Beck’s site The Blaze, the Daily Caller and the Washington Times. This indicates that trending topics could be different for different users, despite having one editorial team and the ability to tweak what you see in the Trending section.
Facebook is a private company and isn’t bound by the first amendment, and guidelines to manage any community are often needed, but Facebook’s guidelines go much further again and are used as justification to censor, ban and delete any views which its social justice warrior moderation staff disagree with. Yiannopoulos hopes a conversation between them might be live-streamed to Facebook.
Today, Mark Zuckerberg released a statement on Facebook in order to remind the platform’s users that “Trending Topics is created to surface the most newsworthy and popular conversations on Facebook”.