Of Course Facebook’s Trending Section is Biased

All news organizations are — whether they’re run by algorithms or human meat-sacks. http://slate.me/1TVXx53
  1. Is Facebook biased against conservatives?
    It’s a question that people have hotly debated for years — and last week the U.S. Senate joined the fun.
  2. The Senate’s inquiry came in response to a Gizmodo article that alleged Facebook suppresses conservative news stories in its coveted Trending section.
    Stories that appear in the Trending section get massive boosts in views and clicks.
  3. In the past, Facebook has claimed Trending stories are chosen by an objective algorithm.
    However, several ex-curators said they were instructed to omit news from conservative outlets.
  4. The ex-curators allege that popular stories from sites like Breitbert were excluded unless they also appeared in “mainstream” publications like CNN.
  5. Corroborating stories is a standard journalistic practice, but Facebook doesn’t like to admit that its curation process is subject to human whims.
  6. So why is Facebook so reluctant to admit that it does what EVERY OTHER MEDIA COMPANY does?
  7. Reason #1: they don’t want to piss off their users.
    Facebook is used by over 1.6 billion people, and a lot of them are conservative. As Michael Jordan once said, Republicans buy shoes, too.
  8. Reason #2: they don’t want people to think they’re a media company.
    According to Pew, 65% of Americans think the media has a negative influence on the country. Only 17% think the same about tech companies.
  9. So instead of pretending to be detached and neutral, Facebook should improve its curation process.
  10. Hiring a team of journalists was a good start, but they need to be paid and trained well.
    Facebook's interns earn a reported $11,000 per month, so there shouldn't be any budget issues.
  11. Or they could remove humans from the process entirely.
    This might turn the Trending section into a swamp of inflammatory clickbait and irrelevant junk, but hey – at least it'd be 'objective'.