Mark Zuckerberg Launches Investigation Into Facebook Trending Topics

Photo: Joan Cros/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock
Mark Zuckerberg addressed accusations that Facebook’s trending topics cycle suppressed issues important to conservative users on Thursday, saying that an investigation had found no evidence to support those claims.

“To serve our diverse community, we are committed to building a platform for all ideas,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “We have rigorous guidelines that do not permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or the suppression of political perspectives.” He added that Facebook took the claims “very seriously” and was continuing to conduct a full investigation.

The accusations stem from a report published by Gizmodo on Monday, alleging that Facebook artificially doctored its Trending Topics list to prevent stories of interest to conservative users from appearing. The report said that curators were influenced by personal bias to include or remove stories; adding stories that were big news items, but not yet trending; and removing or suppressing those that came from conservative outlets. The Trending Topics list purports to show only those subjects which are trending organically on Facebook.

Facebook also released a press statement on Thursday outlining how Trending Topics works and addressing specific claims made in the Gizmodo report, including that Facebook was able to inject subjects into the list or blacklist others.

Zuckerberg said that in coming weeks, he will be personally meeting with conservative leaders and representatives from across the political spectrum to discuss the issue. “[This] gets to the core of everything Facebook is and everything I want it to be,” he wrote. “Every tool we build is designed to give more people a voice and bring our global community together.”
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