Facebook Employees Accused in Trending Topics Controversy

Technology

(WTNH) — The social networking giant admitted yesterday that a handful of ‘rogue’ employees had a bigger role in discriminating against conservative stories.

The Washington Times reports Facebook employees will be sent out for retraining and that its methodology for highlighting stories of interest will be reformatted — all in light of the controversy that contractors were suppressing stories of interest to conservatives in its “Trending Topics” section.

Earlier this month, former Facebook employees revealed to Gizmodo that they detected bias in the curated content, with fewer stories on GOP figures, conservative figures, and right-wing causes.

At first, Facebook officials denied the accusations. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was investigating, but found no evidence. Other officials argued that specific guidelines and a review team for the “trending topics” section would ensure neutrality and prevent certain political ideologies from gaining the upper hand.

Now, the company is admitting that some rogue employees did have a role in which stories were highlighted; unintentionally discriminating against the conservative-based stories. However, Facebook claims the employees acted in “isolated improper actions.”

Facebook says it will try to cut down the chances for bias through the retraining and through new methodology. The social network giant said that it used 10 outlets when judging a story’s importance or interest before it’s added to “Trending Topics.” That list included news outlets like Fox News, the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, and Buzzfeed.

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