Earlier this week, a series of rumors and allegations regarding Facebook’s Trending Topics emerged, claiming that some of the company’s “news curators” employed to maintain the Trending section have abused their position and actively censored trending stories regarding the conservative political party. These claims originated from an alleged anonymous Facebook employee and news curator cited by Gizmodo, who added that some of his / her colleagues have pushed popular conservative stories to the side, preventing them from showing up in the Trending section. A Facebook representative later responded to, and denied these claims, but this doesn’t seem to have been enough, and earlier today Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a more detailed statement on the matter, once again assuring Facebook users that the Trending Topics section hasn’t been censored in any way.
Today, Mark Zuckerberg released a statement on Facebook in order to remind the platform’s users that “Trending Topics is designed to surface the most newsworthy and popular conversations on Facebook”. He added that the company has “rigorous guidelines that do not permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or the suppression of political perspectives”. Nevertheless, while guidelines clearly exist and have been set in place to prevent the censorship of topics from a biased perspective, this doesn’t necessarily guarantee that every Facebook employee stays true to these guidelines. Some may act against Facebook’s rules, and to be precise, the original claims weren’t too clear on whether or not these alleged biased news curators act on their own accord or as per instructed by their superiors. Either way, in his latest statement Mark Zuckerberg revealed that “We have found no evidence that this report is true. If we find anything against our principles, you have my commitment that we will take additional steps to address it”.
In closing, Zuckerberg revealed that he wants to have “a direct conversation about what Facebook stands for” and that, in the coming weeks, the CEO will invite “leading conservatives and people from across the political spectrum” to discuss the matter and share their opinions. Mark Zuckerberg reassured readers that every tool developed by his company has been created “to give more people a voice”. “For as long as I’m leading this company this will always be our mission”.