Facebook Deny Censoring Conservative News Sources In Instant Articles

The Guardian
How Facebook populate their trending topics is of interest to everybody, and a report by Gizmodo has recently suggested that the members of staff who review the articles were told to avoid reports from conservative sites like Breitbart News, until they were covered on more mainstream news sources like CNN. It's also been suggested that Facebook will boot some news stories up into the trending topics if enough users complain. Facebook deny both of these claims, but many of the conservative news sources are still unhappy about this.

When Gizmodo addressed these issues, Facebook responded in a post on the service by Tom Stocky, the company's vice-president of search. Stocky pointed out that Facebook take such allegations seriously and it is something that they would deal with if it was true, but it wasn't. In fact, it's not even possible for the reviewers to ignore all the other sites.

There are no details on the tools and how they would exactly prevent this, but Facebook wants people to know that the tools are in effect. The reviewers are told that they have to share the topics based on real-world topics, on things that people will want to know are trending. Facebook tend to be a little slow with this, but they at least tend to be accurate.They are told to disregard junk news and hoaxes, but most mainstream news sources will avoid those as well.

The case of some news stories being booted up to a trending topic when no one is talking about them is also apparently inaccurate. Facebook have never artificially added a story to the trending topics. The example cited was when Black Lives Matter trended late, apparently people complained so that's why it trended.

Perhaps it could have been because people were complaining that the algorithm picked up on the trend. As previously stated, sometimes trending topics are a bit slow to pop up so never really expect to see a topic trending as quickly on Facebook as you will on Twitter. Of course, the conservative sources still believe that Facebook is lying. They believe that they are being pushed aside and have been for a long time. They have no evidence of this though aside from these allegations and it's not a surprise after all their recent allegations against Twitter.

For now, it seems like Facebook would be stupid to deny this if the allegations were true, but it's difficult for us to tell as observers so there could be some truth in what Gizmodo claimed.

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