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
- •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.
- •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.
- •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.
- •The ex-curators allege that popular stories from sites like Breitbert were excluded unless they also appeared in “mainstream” publications like CNN.
- •Corroborating stories is a standard journalistic practice, but Facebook doesn’t like to admit that its curation process is subject to human whims.
- •So why is Facebook so reluctant to admit that it does what EVERY OTHER MEDIA COMPANY does?
- •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.
- •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.
- •So instead of pretending to be detached and neutral, Facebook should improve its curation process.
- •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.
- •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'.