Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Facebook Says 'No Evidence' Of Suppressing Conservative News


In a Gizmodo article published on Monday, a former Facebook news curator alleged that curators were prevented from selecting stories about conservative news topics that would have otherwise appeared in Facebook's trending news section.

Facebook issued an updated response to the allegations late last night, stating that there is 'no evidence' the tech giant intentionally suppressed conservative media sources in its news feed.



"My team is responsible for Trending Topics, and I want to address today’s reports alleging that Facebook contractors manipulated Trending Topics to suppress stories of interest to conservatives," Facebook VP of Search, Tom Stocky, wrote after midnight Eastern Daylight Time. "We take these reports extremely seriously, and have found no evidence that the anonymous allegations are true."

Stocky continued:

... There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality. These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives. Nor do they permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or one news outlet over another. These guidelines do not prohibit any news outlet from appearing in Trending Topics ... Popular topics are first surfaced by an algorithm, then audited by review team members to confirm that the topics are in fact trending news in the real world and not, for example, similar-sounding topics or misnomers.

... Facebook does not allow or advise our reviewers to systematically discriminate against sources of any ideological origin and we've designed our tools to make that technically not feasible. At the same time, our reviewers' actions are logged and reviewed, and violating our guidelines is a fireable offense ...

There have been other anonymous allegations -- for instance that we artificially forced ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ to trend. We looked into that charge and found that it is untrue. We do not insert stories artificially into trending topics, and do not instruct our reviewers to do so. Our guidelines do permit reviewers to take steps to make topics more coherent, such as combining related topics into a single event (such as ‪#‎starwars‬ and‪#‎maythefourthbewithyou‬), to deliver a more integrated experience...


Photo credit: Facebook