Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has released its policy on “Trending Topics” to the general public in response to the controversy fueled by the media over how the company compiles its “Trending Topics.”
The document released by the firm adds on to the statements that Facebook made with regards to the matter earlier this week. The company was responding to claims that it uses human curators to compile the topics and that the same reviewers were told to be biased on liberal topics and to ignore some topics. The claims suggested that the trending section was operated a lot like a regular newsroom.
Topics are selected by an algorithm
Facebook officials have defended the feature by stating that the topics are selected based on an Algorithm. Justin Osofsky, the Vice President of global operations at the company, stated that the topics that appear on the trending module are selected by the algorithm which can identify topics that have gained popularity on the firm’s social media app. Osofsky revealed in one of his statements that the algorithm also identifies breaking events through an external RSS website.
Facebook also stated that it has a team that identifies whether the topic selected by the algorithm is of a global or national scale and priority is given based on how widely the topic is covered by the major news vendors such as CNN. There are a total of ten mainstream news or media outlets that the firm considers when analyzing the degree of coverage.
The company launched Trending Topics in 2014 as a tool to aid users in discovering popular topics or topics that the user might find interesting. The guideline that Facebook recently released gives an overview of how the firm handles the Trending feature. The guideline also claims that the algorithm is designed to stop the feature from prioritizing topics through biased views. Facebook is also trying to be more transparent to users as it ventures into the distribution of information and news.