Facebook Editors Will No Longer Write Trending Topics Descriptions Due To Bias Claims

Aug 30, 2016 05:33 AM EDT | Tristan Bacsa


The Trending feature on social media giant Facebook was overhauled to make posts more automated due to claims of left-wing bias. 

A mixture of AI and human input picks topics and news stories for the social media's 1.7 billion users to see.
The company said, under these changes, story descriptions will no longer be written by editorial staff.

Descriptions for topics will no longer be written by editors but they will continue to combine keywords and hashtags to describe a single trend under a unified topic. An algorithm will go through news stories and "collect and select" snippets to display when users click on a trend.

Facebook was accused of suppressing conservative views and prompting complaints from Republicans. A former journalist who worked for the social media giant claimed that Facebook workers "routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers".

The company said, in a blog post, that an internal investigation found no zero evidence of systematic bias but Facebook stated that it was making the necessary changes to allow its team to make fewer individual decisions about topics.

"Making these changes to the product allows our team to make fewer individual decisions about topics," the company stated in a blog post. "Facebook is a platform for all ideas, and we're committed to maintaining Trending as a way for people to access a breadth of ideas and commentary about a variety of topics."

Users now will still see the usually personalized news but the entries will focus more on how many users are talking about them and the wordings will be simplified. The staff will still be involved to make sure that posts are still based on news events and are till topical.

As the number of social media users increase, social media companies like Facebook will be questioned by their users over whether their platforms are neutral.

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