Senate Investigates Political Bias at Facebook
The tech website, Gizmodo recently reported that Facebook purposely censors the conservative perspective. A few former employees who were news curators of the social media site admitted to being instructed to do so.
“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former curator who wanted to remain anonymous to Gizmodo. “I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news, I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”
After being appalled by these claims, Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune wrote a letter to the social media company’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg.
“This week, the press is reporting claims by former Facebook staffers that employees of Facebook routinely suppressed conservative political viewpoints on the social network,” said Thune. “If Facebook presents its Trending Topics section as the result of a neutral, objective algorithm, but it is in fact subjective and filtered to support or suppress particular political viewpoints, Facebook’s assertion that it maintains a ‘platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum’ misleads the public.”
Thune also insisted to know how Facebook’s news is curated for its users. “Facebook must answer these serious allegations and hold those responsible to account if there has been political bias in the dissemination of trending news,” said Thune.
Thune condemned Facebook for the alleged censoring stating that “is an abuse of trust and inconsistent with the values of an open Internet.”
It seems also suspicious that Clinton has received the most donations (a total of $100,000) from Facebook employees than any other presidential candidate. Tom Stocky, Facebook’s vice president of product management who is responsible for the “Trending News” section, contributed $2,700 to the Clinton campaign in October. This was the maximum amount that could be given by an individual donor.
Stocky has continued to deny the allegations. “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,” he claimed. “At the same time, our reviewers’ actions are logged and reviewed, and violating our guidelines is a fireable offense,’ said Stocky.
The senate is not taking these allegations lightly and will be doing a full investigation on these claims.