Facebook’s general counsel announced that while Facebook was “unable to substantiate” allegations of “politically-motivated suppression of particular subjects or sources” in its Trending Topics feature, the company is changing some of its policies to “minimize risks where human judgment is involved.”
“Our investigation has revealed no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature. Our data analysis indicated that conservative and liberal topics are approved as trending topics at virtually identical rates. We were also unable to substantiate any of the specific allegations of politically-motivated suppression of particular subjects or sources. In fact, we confirmed that most of the subjects mentioned in media reports were included as trending topics on multiple occasions,” The Company noted in its statement.
Last week Facebook held discussion with Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee John Thune with regards to investigation they were conducting in response to anonymous allegations of political bias in Trending Topics feature.
The Company noted that it had sent Chairman Thune a follow up letter setting out its findings and conclusions. It explained that suppressing political content or preventing people from seeing what matters most to them is directly contrary to their mission and business objectives.
The Company also said in its statement it was deeply troubled by the allegation of bias and underscored the point that they took pride in Company’s platform and community.
Moreover, it stated, “it is important to us that Facebook continues to be a platform for all ideas.”
The Company also posited that its investigation could not fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias in the implementation of their guidelines or policies.
It further said that as part of its commitment to continually improve its products and minimize risks where human judgment is involved, they will be making several changes to improve Trending Topics.
Barbara Greene, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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