Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg(C) answers questions during a media event at Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California on March 7, 2013.
(Josh Edelson/AFP / Getty)
Published in The Takeaway May 10, 2016From and
Just because Facebook says that a story is trending doesn’t mean that it’s actually the most talked about thing on the platform. Instead, a group of “news curators” choose which topics and stories should surface on the social network’s trending column. That process may stretch the definition of “trending,” but it’s not all that surprising.
But it might surprise you to know that Facebook may be deliberately filtering out some kind of stories and boosting others. This week, five former Facebook employees revealed to Gizmodo that they routinely suppressed conservative news. All of the former news curators declined to be named in the report for fear of violating their non-disclosure agreements with the company.
“We take allegations of bias very seriously,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement. “Facebook is a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum.”
The Federalist, a conservative online magazine, published an editorial condemning Facebook for “blacklisting” conservative sites, but Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, says it’s also not that surprising given the company’s opaque algorithms.
Though the idea of censorship might rub you the wrong way, many argue that Facebook is a private company that can promote the kind of content it wants. New York University Professor Jay Rosen, the author of PressThink, a blog about journalism in the digital age, weighs in on the debate.