Facebook is facing opposition from conservatives who are accusing the company of political bias. On Monday, the world’s leading social networking company scrambled to respond to this new and startling line of attack, says The New York Times.
“Trending” feature in question?
On Monday, Gizmodo accused the team in charge of Facebook’s “trending” list of intentionally suppressing articles from conservative news sources, thus triggering the outcry. The feature is intended to highlight the most popular news articles of the day. Facebook is facing backlash from liberals in addition to conservatives, but it is denying the allegations.
A statement from the Republican National Committee read, “It is beyond disturbing to learn that this power is being used to silence viewpoints and stories that don’t fit someone else’s agenda.”
Glenn Greenwald, a journalist who is hardly a conservative ally, took to Twitter where he said that not only is it fueling right-wing persecution, but it is also a key reminder of the dangers with Silicon Valley controlling content. The editor-in-chief of Breitbart News, Alexander Marlow, said the report confirms what conservatives have been suspecting for a long time.
Facebook responded to the allegations by saying that to ensure “consistency and neutrality,” it follows rigorous guidelines and works to include all perspectives. A Facebook spokeswoman said the company takes such allegations very seriously.
“Facebook is a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum,” she said.
Facebook a source of news for many
Facebook has made an important place for itself in America’s political conversation, and the recent backlash highlights the extent to which this has happened. Also it highlights the risks the company has to face in its journey of becoming a central force in news consumption and production.
Facebook, which has more than 222 million monthly active users in the U.S. and Canada, has become a popular destination for people to stay up to date with the latest events around the world. Last year, the Pew Research Center conducted a study in collaboration with the Knight Foundation and found that the platform acts as a news source for 63% of its users.
Last month, Facebook released a video to encourage people to search the platform to discover the other side of the story, thus openly embracing the role of a news provider. Many politicians use the social network to share their messages.