Facebook reworks Trending Topics after ‘allegations of political bias’

Facebook, in a bid to expel the allegations that it favours a conservative stance with its Trending Topics, is making changes to the product.

The company claims that the changes are to make the process more rigorous and transparent.

“Suppressing political content or preventing people from seeing what matters most to them is directly contrary to our mission. We are proud of the platform and community we have created, and it is important to us that Facebook continues to be a platform for all ideas,” Colin Stretch, Facebook General Counsel, said in a blog post.

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Among the changes, Facebook is tweaking its guidelines terminology in a bid to make them more clear. Additionally, the company says that no refresher training may be made on the basis of politics or ideology. To assure a more transparent process, the company is also introducing additional controls and oversight around the review team, as well as robust escalation procedures.

Facebook is also making changes to Trending Topics itself, announcing that it will no longer be using other websites and media outlets to determine what belongs in the “Trending Topics” section.

“This means that we will discontinue use of the top-10 list of news outlets, the Media 1K list, and the RSS feed,” wrote Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch in a letter to Senator John Thune.

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The other changes include removing the ability to assign an important level to a topic and a commitment to offer users more information about this feature and how it works.

Stretch said that Facebook will continuously work to improve Trending Topics.

“We will continue to work to improve the feature, as well as to seek feedback from people who use our service to make sure we keep Facebook a platform for all ideas.”



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