Facebook has not been manipulating its trending topics, nor suppressing conservative news and articles on its network. That is the conclusion that the company’s own investigation came to, and one that has been accepted by the US Senate.
Back in March 1.1 billion users visited Facebook and used its social services on a daily basis, while an ever-expanding number of people get their news exclusively from social media. With that staggering amount of users, it’s no surprise that when allegations came out of Facebook suppressing conservative news stories, they were taken very serious.
The United States’ Senate Commerce Committee launched an official inquiry into Facebook’s practices with regards to the trending topics that the social network displays. The company also started its own internal investigation, which has now concluded, without finding any evidence of political bias or news suppression.
In fact, the company’s numbers show that liberal and conservative news stories are covered in virtually identical numbers, and that widely-covered news stories continuously show up as trending on the social network, without regard to the political flavor of the story.
The company did however note that prior to July 2015, it was sourcing trending topics from a much smaller pool of publishers, meaning topics or stories could have been overlooked is those publishers were not covering them.
To that end the company has since changed practices, and has now also updated its internal policies to further minimize even unintentional biases that may appear when humans are involved in the process.
On his part, Republican Senator John Thune, who was leading the Senate commerce Comittee’s investigation into Facebook’s practices, called the company report “acceptable” and said Facebook’s transparency on this matter was a breath of fresh air.
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