US Senate Commerce Committee Asking Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg To Answer Bias Allegations
May 11, 2016 02:19 AM EDT
The United States Senate Commerce Committee has asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to respond to the allegations that the social networking platform has been intentionally biased. The committee claims that conservative media outlets and conservative news were intentionally excluded from the site's "Trending Topics" section.
Time reported that a letter was penned by committee chairman South Dakota Senator John Thune. In the letter, he asked Zuckerberg to explain who is responsible for what stories should be included in the "Trending Topics" section. Thune also asked Zuckerberg to detail what steps have been they taken to investigate the alleged bias.
According to The Wrap, Thune want Facebook to describe the organization structure for the "Trending Topics" feature on the social media site. Thune pointed out that social networks such as Facebook are an "increasingly important source of news for many Americans and people around the world." He also said that Facebook has "enormous influence on users' perceptions of current events, including political perspectives."
Thune asked for a list of all the stories that were removed from the trending section as well as those that were injected to the feature since January of 2014. Facebook was given until May 24 to respond to the request, Recode reported.
A Facebook spokesman said that the company was able to receive the letter and that they will be reviewing the questions.
The report regarding Facebook's "Trending Topics" section was placed on the spotlight on Monday after an article was published by Gizmodo. The article pointed out that some of the contractors who managed the section allowed their political beliefs to influence their decisions regarding the stories that are supposed to be included on the site.
However, Tom Stocky, the vice president of search in Facebook, released a statement saying that his team was not able to find any evidence supporting the claims of Gizmodo. Facebook added that workers on the "Trending Topics" feature are not allowed to suppress particular news outlets or topics as there are technical blockers.