Will “Trending topics” become a “trending” topic on Facebook?
The social media giant on Thursday pulled back the curtain on how its Trending Topics feature works, a reaction to a report in the tech blog Gizmodo that claimed Facebook downplays conservative news subjects. Facebook denies that report, which relied upon a single anonymous individual with self-described conservative leanings.
In its own blog post , the company said a series of checks and balances — involving both software formulas and humans — ensures that stories displayed in the “trending topics” section aren’t biased. The post linked to a 28-page internal document Facebook uses to determine trending topics, after the Guardian published a similar document that was leaked to it.
Justin Osofsky, vice president of global operations, said the guidelines ensure that stories in trending topics represent “the most important popular stories, regardless of where they fall on the ideological spectrum.”
“The guidelines do not permit reviewers to add or suppress political perspectives,” he said in a statement.
Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and chief executive of the social media site, took to Facebook on Thursday evening to say he plans to talk with leading conservatives in coming weeks.
“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,” the statement said.
Facebook hasn’t said how many people are responsible for the trending topics team. A Guardian report on Thursday said the team was as few as 12 people, citing leaked documents, but Facebook didn’t comment on that number… see more