Facebook Trending Topics accused of bias, Zuckerberg speaks out

Culture
Facebook is caught up in a cloud of controversy over its trending topics. The drama begun after a Gizmodo report in which a former Facebook employee said the stories in the trending box were picked by human staff and the team is suppressing conservative stories Facebook denied the report, but it led to outrage over the influence Facebook employees have to swing a conversation. Shouldn't Trending show what's naturally popular instead of being handpicked by humans? In a move toward transparency, Facebook released an internal document of instructions that the Trending team is ordered to follow. The stories highlighted are a result of mixing computer algorithms With a human team of curators. The team works similar to how a newsroom may pick what stories to cover. It also reviews what other major news outlets are reporting on. Mark Zuckerberg jumped into the discussion with a statement. He says that trending topics will not prioritize one viewpoint over another or suppress political perspectives. And it is investigating to see if anyone was suppressing conservative viewpoints, as the report claims. Zuckerberg also sais he will meet with conservative leaders about this issue. It is no surprise people are getting worked up over this claim, we are in the middle of a major presidential U.S. election and Facebook could sway voters. By displaying or hiding certain hot topics. This week a Nielson study revealed that social media is a top source of news for people, ranking right behind television. That's it for this tech news update. I'm Bridget Carey, you can stay on top of the biggest stories at cnet.com/update.

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