It’s been two weeks since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with leaders of conservative media to calm down accusations that the social media site was censoring conservative news and opinion. After the meeting one of the attendees, Media Research Center Pres. Brent Bozell“characterized the meeting between Zuckerberg and conservative leaders as generally positive and ‘cordial’ – but, also expressed a cautious wait-and-see reaction to Facebook’s promises of reform, citing the social media giant’s loss of public trust.” He also said “We’ll see how the [internal] investigation turns out”
Bozell’s caution was well-founded. The internal investigation took only a few days, and Facebook found “no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature.” Even though they accepted no blame, the social media site took action (sort of).
Facebook made inconsequential changes to their Trending Topics feature and continued their failure to address the anti-conservative bias affecting individual member pages.
On May 23rd, Colin Stretch, Facebook General Counsel posted on theFacebook newsroom site steps the social media site would take to fix the Trending Topics page, including:
- Changing the terminology in their Guidelines to make them more clear,
- Retraining all reviewers to make sure they don’t make choices based on ideologies,
- Expanding oversight, dropping the use of external websites and news outlets to identify, validate or assess the importance of particular topics, and
- Expanding Help Center content on Trending Topics to provide more information about this feature and how it works.
Not one of those changes will fix the biggest part of the Facebook censorship problem, the accusation that Facebook censors individual member pages, blogs, smaller media outlets, and discussion groups reflecting a conservative point of view…
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