Facebook says there is “no evidence” its Trending Topics section is biased

Searching for signs of liberal bias.
Searching for signs of liberal bias.
Image: Reuters/Thomas Hodel
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Facebook’s VP of Search has denied allegations that the company used human editors to suppress stories that supported conservative viewpoints in its trending news section.

Tom Stocky, who has worked at Facebook since 2011 and oversees Trending Topics, addressed the accusations in a Facebook post published on May 9. He claims that the Trending Topics curators follow “rigorous guidelines” when selecting stories to appear in the section. The guidelines, he says, ”do not permit the suppression of political perspectives.”

“We have in place strict guidelines for our trending topic reviewers as they audit topics surfaced algorithmically: reviewers are required to accept topics that reflect real world events, and are instructed to disregard junk or duplicate topics, hoaxes, or subjects with insufficient sources,” Stocky writes.  ”Facebook does not allow or advise our reviewers to systematically discriminate against sources of any ideological origin and we’ve designed our tools to make that technically not feasible.”

Stocky also denies that the editorial team boosted stories supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.