Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has changed how stories appear on new feeds due to regulatory pressure. The move comes amid concerns that the current algorithm format may be encouraging political bias, especially on conservative topics.
Internal Probe Findings
Early this month Facebook came under pressure as a Senate committee questioned how trending topics are selected. The tech giant agreed to carry out an internal probe over allegations that the team overseeing trending topics knowingly suppressed conservative views.
Facebook insists it found no evidence of systematic political bias after completing the probe. General Counsel, Colin Stretch, says they found virtually identical rates of approval of both liberal and conservative topics.
“Suppressing political content or preventing people from seeing what matters most to them is directly contrary to our mission and our business objectives and the allegations troubled us deeply,” said Mr. Stretch.
CEO, Mark Zuckerberg was forced to hold meetings with conservatives last week as he sought to calm the storm before things got out of hand. Facebook says it has addressed the concerns having instituted a number of changes that it hopes will address any form of bias.
The social network company says it will no longer categorize stories to appear on sites considered news outlets. It has also confirmed plans to stop using its curated RSS feed for news, which it says could lead to bias of news displayed on the platform.
The company is also adding more oversight on the team that overseas trending topics, as it cannot exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions. Reviewers of the trending topics have also undergone a refresher training that the company says emphasized the need for impartiality when it comes to the selection of topics based on politics or ideologies.
Trending topics appear on the upper right-hand corner, displayed to help users discover popular topics around the world. Facebook relies on both staff and algorithms to select topics that appear on users News Feeds