Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook chief executive, said the group would probe allegations that the social network has excluded conservative news stories from its trending topics section.
Facebook has launched a “full investigation” into a claim made by a former news curator that employees were instructed to omit particular stories about Mitt Romney, Rand Paul and other rightwing topics in the sidebar designed to show what is popular on the site.
Mr Zuckerberg said he took the report “very seriously” but the company is yet to find any evidence that it was true. Writing in a Facebook post, he said he was inviting “leading conservatives” and “people from across the political spectrum” to talk with him and share their points of view.
“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,” he said. “We believe the world is better when people from different backgrounds and with different ideas all have the power to share their thoughts and experiences.”
The Facebook founder’s post came shortly after the company released the guidelines it gives to curators who work on the trending topics section. He said they had “rigorous guidelines” that “do not permit thse prioritisation of one viewpoint over another or the suppression of political perspectives”.
The document — which looks like a media style guide — focuses on how headlines should be written and lists 10 mainstream news sources, including the right of centre Fox News and The Wall Street Journal, which curators can use to decide whether a trending topic relates to a real news event.
Mr Zuckerberg received a letter from Senator John Thune, chair of the Senate commerce committee, asking a series of questions about how “Trending Topics” was compiled, after the story on tech blog Gizmodo was published earlier this week.
Gizmodo reported that one former news curator said employees were told to exclude certain topics, while many told the site they were asked to artificially bump up other topics which were not as popular.
The report sparked outrage in the US rightwing media, from the tabloid The New York Post to The Drudge Report, which accused Facebook of “leaning left”, in a reference to chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg’s women in business book “Lean In”.
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Zuckerberg is just going through the PR motions of pretending he is concerned. Why? Because he got busted, and though he despises conservatives, he still wants their money.
Zuckerberg is a gazillionaire media mogul and a leftwing political activist, hellbent on re-shaping America to suit his vision for the future. What do you think he is going to do with his wealth, power and influence? Bloomberg does it. Bezos does it.
Has Zuckerberg learned his lesson? You betcha. He won’t get caught so easily next time.
If Facebook wanted to eliminate Kardashians and cat videos from the trending section, that’s one thing.
But Facebook is neither the Drudge Report nor the Huffington Post. As such — indeed, in the obvious context of a generic social media platform — trending clearly implies a reflection of the hive mind.
As a conservative and a libertarian, I don’t know that this should be a federal matter. That said, what Facebook did was pure deception (as obvious as the unspoken practice may have been to some of us).
To put all of this in context, Zuckerberg is an obvious lefty. For example, in a truly foolhardy act he bizarrely gave the corrupt public school system of Newark, New Jersey $100 million to flush down the rat hole. And consider his admonishment of Facebook employees who had the audacity to scrawl All Lives Matter on their communal wall at the office.
This latest revelation only reinforces my hope that Facebook will soon assume its rightful place in the Internet’s dustbin, alongside MySpace and Yahoo.
Just do what I did. Delete your Facebook account. Problem solved!! No way that guy is going to make money off of me for his “charities”.
Poor Mark – did he lose a couple of Bil$$$ by censoring conservatives? Stinx to be him!
This is along the lines of a scenario where Al Gore would launch an “investigation” into the “global warming” hoax and “carbon credit” scam, along with a “probe” into the veracity of “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Might as well have Obama launch an “investigation” into his gestapo at the IRS.
How can cuckerberg deny this, when he HIMSELF came out strongly AGAINST Trump?
Any honest probe Facebook conducts into this suppression of conservative viewpoints can only lead right back to its founder.
I mean, who knew, right?
Zucker is a Clown!
After the fine job the Guardian did… this was pathetic. Your reporter let Zuckerberg blow smoke about his “investigation.” Did OJ’s “investigation” ever find the killer. Did they ever find Jon Benet Ramsey’s killer?
See how that works?
Now the “algorithm” explanation is just pure black box BS… they condition what goes in with “qualifiers” that prejudice the whole process. Then they make judgment calls about what they will allow to appear. These are PEOPLE making EDITORIAL decisions… There may be an Al around but no algorithms.
Believing Zucks about Facebook taking a serious look at the bias of their trending section is like believing Obama’s DOJ will take an honest look at Hillaries crimes against America. All smoke in the wind.
This is interesting: “The report sparked outrage in the US rightwing media…”
Why the odd term “rightwing?” Does the FT ever use the term “leftwing?”
Why not just use “conservative” and “liberal?”
@Seymour Clearly The media virtually never uses the term “Liberal”, either.
Because it’s FT.
It amazes me that the ‘free’ business model of Facebook (‘You let us record your internal and social world, we connect you with people you already know’) is still working, but the naïvety of people who are upset that commercial media firms like Facebook have an agenda is beyond amazement.
@Cpl. Jones Its just a tad dishonest, some would say fraudulent, to rope people in on the representation that they will ‘connect’ people’ and tell you what is ‘trending” in the minds of people there…….when it not only isn’t, but is changing the trend itself. If the trend algorithm wasn’t working, then its a mistake. To make it not work…in a direction you want….is fraudulent. At least thats the allegation as to what is going on.
Most businesses that commit fraud get in a ‘little bit’ of trouble in the public arena at minimum.
Please ask if back-test can be performed independently for the 2008 and 2012 election cycles. Please include all communication between the DNC-Facebook, Obama campaign-Facebook, Obama PAC’s – Facebook,and Axelrod-Messina -Facebook and any other communication by and between Zukerberg and President Obama and his team.
Credit where due, this is a great, encouraging response from someone on the left.I hope it’s genuine and some good can come of it.
You actually think he’s sincere? Come on.
Mark Zuckerberg, the same person that doesn’t believe people should be allowed firearm ownership but is guarded 24/7 by armed men. Mark Zuckerberg, the same person that believes in open borders but has erected a tall fence around his home after buying out all neighboring properties. Mark Zuckerberg, the same person that believes in free speech agreeing on record to censor for Merkel.
Keep throwing your vc at this guy, it’s surely a good investment.
No one trusts Republican news sources. Particularly sources like the Drudge Report, Faux News or BartBreit, and of course the American and British nonsense tabloids.
As a result, facebook has a policy that for information obtained from those sources, a second, reliable, source needs to be found to confirm that the information isn’t just standard Republican Lies and Deceit.
@John Galt. Drudge Report is not a news source. It is an aggregator. Breitbart is not even that.
Drudge also often alters the titles of the news articles he links to, often making claims in the new titles that are not supported by the articles themselves.
Drudge typically links to news “sources” like Alex Jones, Bartbreit and other disreputable sites that claim to be news sources.
Drudge also often alters the titles of the news articles he links to, often making claims in the new titles that are not supported by the articles themselves.
He also links to unreliable sources like CNN, CBS, NBC,ABC the NYT, LAT, Miami Harold, MSNBC and all the left wing propaganda sites.
Your being sarcastic right.
In a free society a free press enjoys the right to take whatever position its editors and publishers feel may be appropriate, without risk of government censorship or intervention. That right is guaranteed to Facebook by the Constitution. It also follows that it has the right to self-censor and manage feedback. This is no different than traditional editors determining which Letters to the Editor they publish vs. those they round file. Facebook is a commercial organization and if it chooses to bias its feedback channels by manual editing or via algorithm, they’re free to do so and through their actions, members and advertisers can decide for themselves if that’s a wise decision. The government has no business investigating these practices anymore than it does having a seat on the Editorial Board of any publication.
Agreed. Just wondering if you also agree that Citizens United protected a company’s constitutional rights?
Not sure anyone is proposing government intrusion however when to say they’re not doing it the public has a right to complain and dump their FB account.
@Aurora27 Of course Facebook is ‘free’ to censor whatever it likes.
It is, however, not ‘free’ to false advertise, mislead or be deceitful with what is ‘trending’ is true and real. That’s fraud, and Facebook is not ‘free’ to commit fraud.
The point is, they need to let their users know they are censoring conservative and right leaning free speech so their users will be able to make informed decisions about using their service or buying their stock.
Facebook said I am not allowed to copy my post. An entire paragraph telling me why. 5-13-2016 on ft.com site
I have an Apple Computer. Half a dozen ways to capture an image. Facebook just went after the “copy” function under Edit control. Would prefer they left my computer alone as it is private property. Also, the words I write belong to me, at least until I post them. If Facebook does not want to be in the Message Board business just get out. Anyway, DISQUS is far better.
The power of the Tech giants is enormous and ruthless..Facebook google and amazon are no exceptions and they all are very very scared
Trump says Washington Post owner Bezos has ‘huge antitrust problem
Trump: Amazon CEO using Washington Post for political power
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump lashed out at Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos Thursday, claiming that the founder of Amazon.com was using the newspaper as a tool to influence corporate tax policy.
“Every hour we’re getting calls from reporters from The Washington Post asking ridiculous questions,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “And I will tell you, this is owned as a toy by Jeff Bezos … Amazon is getting away with murder, tax-wise. He’s using The Washington Post for power so that the politicians in Washington don’t tax Amazon like they should be taxed.”
Trump was responding to Post Associate Editor Bob Woodward’s disclosure that the newspaper has assigned 20 reporters to investigate the real estate mogul’s life.
Mark Zuckerberg’s political views and allegiances have been quite clear for a long time now; I’m more surprised with the fact he was able to dupe so many of us for so long in believing Facebook’s supposed “neutrality”.
In this case FB functions just as a (disguised) media outlet “subtly” promoting a left-leaning/liberal agenda while pretending it is not.
FB’s internal investigation is a JOKE…
Quote: “We believe the world is better when people from different backgrounds and with different ideas all have the power to share their thoughts and experiences.”
This does not square with Facebook being the “Thought Police” for most all foreign governments. In particular China, European States, and England.
Have had personal experience with this in Germany. Have had my post(s), on several occasions, re-routed to a government agency. No, did not open the link!
Have read that China has rounded up subversives due to their posts on Facebook. True? Who knows. However, the Chinese Government has warned those using Social Media not to meddle in government affairs. How do they know? Well, Facebook knows all!
Enough yes men in your ranks you dont need to give or write own an order
just say outloud will no one me of these annoying conservatives.?
The yes men will follow
This statement is the equivalent of Zuckerberg saying that he was “shocked, shocked to hear that there was gambling at Rick’s.”
How long will this make it past the Facebook censors?
“The law perverted! And the police powers of the state perverted along with it! The law, I say, not only turned from its proper purpose but made to follow an entirely contrary purpose! The law become the weapon of every kind of greed! Instead of checking crime, the law itself guilty of the evils it is supposed to punish!
If this is true, it is a serious fact, and moral duty requires me to call the attention of my fellow-citizens to it.” – Frédéric Bastiat
Obvious questions on this year’s election: 1) Why can’t patriotic democrats see how corrosive progressive policies are? And, 2) How firmly can they hold their collective noses and vote for Hillary? We shall see.
@Longbowe6 The Republic will not be restored until America is cleansed of it’s progressives.
Very well stated. Facebook has morphed into something other than an open Social Media. I get the feeling of outright arrogance on their part.
Would greatly prefer DISQUS. At least their spell checker works okay.
And yes, I know that Facebook has tied in advertising with the message board. Good for them, bad for us.
They are also tied into governments, world wide. Special feature; “The Thought Police”.
A small, charitable non-profit doing work to help cure pediatric cancer dared to challenge a charge Facebook made against a payment method the small, charitable non-profit had provided for boosting posts and running ads. The small, charitable non-profit could not reconcile that charge against any information in their records or those provided by Facebook.
In retaliation, Facebook terminated (without warning and without discussion) the small, charitable non-profit’s ability to boost posts and run ads. To this day Facebook has refused to respond to queries from the small, charitable non-profit as to why this was done and how they can restore their ability to boost posts and run ads.
I have a simple test here, let’s see if you dig a little deeper on Mr. Trump’s background and affairs than you did with Mr. Obama’s. That’s all we need to see from you and the rest of the media. Let’s see if the frenzy for Mr. Trump’s tax returns is as easily dismissed as was the calls for Mr. Obama’s college transcripts for a start.
That should prove enlightening.
Rich in New Mexico.
In other words, How can we help Hillary get what she WANTS because of this?
” right of centre Fox News and The Wall Street Journal,”
LOL. Fox News is hardly “Right of centre”. As they have brought on more “mainstream escapees”, Fox has tended to the Left so their designation as “Right of centre” is laughable.
The only part of the WSJ that could possibly be interpreted as tepidly “Right of centre” is a portion of the Editorial Page. The rest of the publication imitates the NY Times, LA Times, and Washington Post and is most decidedly Left if not far Left of centre.
Maybe Zuckerberg can hire Lois Lerner to get to the bottom of it? Or how about Eric Holder…he needs a job! No one buying Zuckerberg’s fake concern here.
Cancel your FB accounts – what a time hole!