Facebook to Shake up Things in the Trending Topic Team to Address Allegations of Bias

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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has denied allegations that the team responsible for a section of the news deliberately suppressed conservative news, but said they would look into ways to improve the feature.

Anonymous sources made the allegations that the team which was given the task of choosing trending topics was being biased and did all they could so that conservative news would not make it to the top of the page. Facebook denied the claims on Monday in a press release and letter which was sent to the chairman of the US Senate Commerce Committee, John Thune.

The general counsel at the social media network, Colin Stretch said the company had met with Thune on the 18th of May, and they discussed the internal two-week investigation that Facebook had undertaken, which had found that the conservative news was getting the fair amount of exposure to the liberal news. In a statement, he said that the suppression of political content or anything that mattered to people deeply would be directly against what Facebook was all about.

Stretch, however, said their investigation did not remove any doubts about the unintentional bias and isolated improper actions. Therefore, the social media giant would put measures in place to ensure no misuse of the power so as to minimize human risk.

The news allegations were first made back on 9 May, which was made by a former curator at Facebook. Shortly after, Thune then demanded that the Facebook CEO answer to the allegations.

The trending topics segment appears in the upper right corner of the Facebook website, which is different from the news feed. Topics can be selected from an algorithm and the staff at Facebook. As Facebook wrote to Thune in the letter, that the use of people is there to help bridge a gap between the people and the algorithm.

Zuckerberg held a meeting with conservative commentators about the issue last Wednesday. The investigation team spoke various teams to determine the correct result. They liaised with current and former reviewers, current supervisors and some leading conservatives which lead them to gain some valuable information on the matter at hand. Stretch said that the investigation team had discovered no evidence at all of the systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of the news for and on the website. He said that the team could not substantiate any of the allegations of suppression of particular stories and subjects based on political motivation.