Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he’ll invite “leading conservatives” to chat about reports that his company’s Trending Topics section has a significant liberal bias.
“I want to have a direct conversation about what Facebook stands for and how we can be sure our platform stays as open as possible,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday night. “The reason I care so much about this is that it gets to the core of everything Facebook is and everything I want it to be.”
Zuckerberg says, “The world is better when people from different backgrounds and with different ideas all have the power to share their thoughts and experiences.”
Yesterday, The Guardian uncovered internal Facebook files that outline editorial decisions throughout the company’s news operation, including guidelines on how to “inject” and “blacklist” particular stories.
“The guidelines are sure to bolster arguments that Facebook has made discriminatory editorial decisions against right-wing media,” The Guardian’s Sam Thielman wrote.
“We take this report very seriously and are conducting a full investigation to ensure our teams upheld the integrity of this product,” Zuckerberg wrote. “We have found no evidence that this report is true. If we find anything against our principles, you have my commitment that we will take additional steps to address it.”
While many users have been led to believe Facebook’s Trending Topics feature is based on an objective algorithm, the documents reveal that a small editing staff is largely responsible for what appears in the now-controversial section of the social network’s newsfeed.
Gizmodo reported on Monday that former Facebook workers claimed colleagues would prevent conservative topics and publications from appearing in the Trending Topics sidebar next to users’ primary news feeds.
The very next day, the Senate Commerce Committee sent a letter to Zuckerberg requesting information regarding accusations that the social media platform purposely keeps conservative news out of its Trending Topics section.