With more than 167 million users in the U.S. alone, Facebook is one of the most powerful platforms in which we view and share news. The company has always maintained an unbiased perspective but a new investigation claims that the social media network knowingly controlled the messages that we see.
Former Facebook employees tell Gizmodo that they were tasked to suppress conversative news stories from the "trending" news section. The source says that programmers prevented users from seeing stories about topics like Mitt Romney and Rand Paul from appearing in the highly-influential section (even though they were organically trending). “Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former so-called news curator. "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.”
Facebook reportedly asked curators to artifically boost articles on topics the company thought were worth reading, such as Black Lives Matter. “Facebook got a lot of pressure about not having a trending topic for Black Lives Matter,” the individual said. “They realized it was a problem, and they boosted it in the ordering. They gave it preference over other topics.
Curating stories isn't new--websites select which articles will be prominently featured every single day--but the alleged practice undermines Facebook's policy about keeping content organic. Facebook has not responded to the allegations. No word on whether this story made Facebook's news trends.