Facebook curators control trending news; Zuckerberg to investigate the matter

The week started on a low note for Facebook with reports floating around pointing at how Facebook has been manipulating its News Trends section by suppressing conservative news


The week started on a low note for Facebook with reports floating around pointing at how Facebook has been manipulating its News Trends section by suppressing conservative news. And, here's some more bad news.

Now, The Guardian has got its hands on leaked documents, and one of which is "Trending Review Guideline", that is used to train these "news curators". The documents reportedly reveal that the company relies on "intervention of a small editorial team to determine what makes its trending module headlines". In clear words, there is human intervention. Though the guidelines mention topics are based by news gathered by machines, there is no denying that it isn't influenced by a team of "news curators".

There's a team of news editors reportedly working in shifts around the clock who have been instructed on how to “inject” stories into the trending topics module. They are also trained to “blacklist” topics that can be removed up to a day for reasons such as “doesn’t represent a real-world event”, which is left to the discretion of the editors. "The company wrote that “the editorial team CAN [sic] inject a newsworthy topic” as well if users create something that attracts a lot of attention, for example #BlackLivesMatter," the report clearly states.

Interestingly, the report points out that Facebook guidelines mention looking for ten news sources to determine "if a trending story has editorial authority". “You should mark a topic as ‘National Story’ importance if it is among the 1-3 top stories of the day. We measure this by checking if it is leading at least 5 of the following 10 news websites: BBC News, CNN, Fox News, The Guardian, NBC News, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Yahoo News or Yahoo," the guidelines for US trending stories  read.

Earlier this week, Facebook Search VP refuted the allegations and wrote a long post on Facebook explaining there is ‘no evidence’ to prove the allegations are true. So, should we say, here's the evidence Tom Stocky? He had spoken about rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality and how these guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives.

Now, after the revelation, the head honcho has realised its time to intervene. So, there's another long post, this time by Mark Zuckerberg, who again mentions there is no evidence to prove if this is true by will be taking the report very seriously and begin an investigation. "

"We take this report very seriously and are conducting a full investigation to ensure our teams upheld the integrity of this product. We have found no evidence that this report is true. If we find anything against our principles, you have my commitment that we will take additional steps to address it," he writes.

He also plans to talk to the conservatives and know their thoughts across political spectrum. "In the coming weeks, I'll also be inviting leading conservatives and people from across the political spectrum to talk with me about this and share their points of view. I want to have a direct conversation about what Facebook stands for and how we can be sure our platform stays as open as possible," he has further written.

We have reached out to Facebook and are awaiting response.

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