Facebook Responds To Allegations Of Conservative Censorship

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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Facebook has just responded to allegations that news curators at the social media giant have been systematically censoring conservative news outlets by saying company guidelines do not allow suppression.

“We take allegations of bias very seriously,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Facebook is a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum.”

“There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality,” the spokesperson added. “These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives. Nor do they permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or one news outlet over another. These guidelines do not prohibit any news outlet from appearing in Trending Topics.”

What’s notable about Facebook’s response is that it does not deny allegations that news curators manipulated the algorithm to systematically exclude conservative news outlets. Rather, it simply says guidelines do not permit the practice and adds there are rigorous guidelines to prevent manipulation from taking place.

Earlier Monday, as well as last Tuesday, Gizmodo reported that news curators at Facebook allegedly blacklisted stories from conservative news outlets, effectively erasing them from the “trending news” feature available to users. According to a former news curator, this was done without instruction from management, though management did instruct curators to inject news stories into the trending category that weren’t popular enough on their own legs. Black Lives Matter stories were one such example of stories that were artificially boosted into the trending category, even though they didn’t meet the requirements of the algorithm.

Several of the conservative news outlets alleged to be frequently censored are The Blaze, Breitbart, Washington Examiner and Newsmax.

A Facebook spokesperson told The Daily Caller News Foundation that “Any public post on Facebook that’s relevant to a Trending Topic could show up on a Trending search results page.”

There is no list of “blocked” outlets, but the allegation is essentially that in choosing what’s “relevant to a Trending Topic,” these curators have apparently systematically excluded conservative outlets, even though no formal list exists.

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