Media experts bemoan anti-conservative bias in Facebook's trending stories

Posted May 16

Tech magazine Gizmodo reported this week that Facebook's trending stories are often manipulated to reflect a liberal bias.

Former journalists working on Facebook's trending feature told Gizmodo that they were forced to suppress stories that "might be of interest to conservative users," remove any news about Facebook itself from the trending list and curate stories that weren't popular enough to be considered "trending." That runs contrary to the company's claims that news stories are selected via an algorithm based on their popularity among Facebook users.

“I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz," one anonymous curator told Gizmodo.

The impact of such "pseudo-journalism," as Quartz called it, is profound, given Facebook's popularity.

"Facebook is far and away the No. 1 source of readers for news outlets. On mobile in particular, referrals on Facebook drive an outsized amount of traffic," Quartz reported.

"For anyone who cares about press freedom, this is frightening stuff,” Reuters quoted Bloomberg Editor Bill Grueskin's Twitter feed.

Facebook has remained quiet so far on the allegations, but Quartz reported that in the wake of the Gizmodo report, Facebook ironically had a story about its own news bias listed in its trending section.


Twitter: ChandraMJohnson


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