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Facebook to tweak Trending Topics following allegations of bias

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By Rebecca Stewart | Trends Editor

May 24, 2016 | 3 min read

Facebook is poised to update its Trending Topics section following allegations that the news feature suppressed right-wing stories.

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While the social giant has strenuously denied the claims, which were first printed in Gizmodo, it has said that it will “continue to improve the feature” and update its news guidelines to make them clearer.

Writing in a blog directly addressed to chairman of the US senate committee John Thune, Facebook’s vice-president of General Counsel Colin Stretch said: “Our data analysis indicated that conservative and liberal topics are approved as trending topics at virtually identical rates.

“At the same time, our investigation could not fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies. As part of our commitment to continually improve our products and to minimize risks where human judgment is involved, we are making a number of improvements to Trending Topics.”

As well as updates to procedures, Facebook has said it will give its news curators “refresher training” on content decisions.

The social behemoth claimed that the allegations troubled them “deeply”. Today’s move follows on from a meeting Mark Zuckerberg held with conservative thought leaders last Wednesday (18 May).

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