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Facebook Changes ‘Trending Topics’ Feature After Bias Accusations

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Facebook will make changes to its “Trending Topics” feature to rely less on feedback from news organizations, after conducting an internal investigation into accusations that the company was suppressing conservative media.

Facebook denied claims of bias in a press release and letter on Monday, while also announcing the new changes.

“Our investigation has revealed no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature,” Colin Stretch, general council at Facebook, said in the release. “Suppressing political content or preventing people from seeing what matters most to them is directly contrary to our mission and our business objectives, and the allegations troubled us deeply.”

However, Stretch announced that Facebook would be making changes to Trending Topics “to minimize risks where human judgment is involved.” According to the release, Facebook will stop relying on “lists of external websites and news outlets to identify” the importance of topics, removing “the list of RSS feeds used to supplement the algorithm that generates potential trending topics.”

Last Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met leading conservatives to discuss allegations of anti-conservative bias at Facebook. He later wrote in a Facebook post: “The reality is, conservatives and Republicans have always been an important part of Facebook . . . I want to do everything I can to make sure our teams uphold the integrity of our products.”

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