5/11/2016 4:40:06 PM
|written By : Team India Se|
Several former Facebook employees came forward to admit that they regularly suppressed conservative news from popping up in the ‘trending’ section of the website, according to a report published by the website, Gizmodo, earlier this week.
These “news curators” were instructed to provide links to news articles, and write brief headlines and summaries of trending topics. However, managers also gave them instructions to “inject” topics into the news feed, regardless if they were trending on the rest of the Internet or not. These stories often reflected the personal biases of Facebook’s workers, as they had the ability to rank and prioritize news based on its level of importance to the individual.
“It was absolutely bias,” a former curator explained. “It just depends on who the curator is and what time of day it is.”
In fact, there were times where breaking news, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, was pushed into Facebook’s trending section before it had garnered enough attention to be registered by the website’s algorithm.
“We were told that if we saw something, a news story that was on the front page of these ten sites, like CNN, the New York Times, and BBC, then we could inject the topic…even if it wasn’t naturally trending,” another previous employee added.
A spokesperson for Facebook claimed to take these allegations “very seriously,” in a recent statement.
“Facebook is a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum. Trending Topics shows you the popular topics and hashtags that are being talked about on Facebook. There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality,” the company said. “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.”