Facebook Responds to Allegations Company Suppressed Conservative News

Company said it has "rigorous guidelines" in place to ensure neutrality.

May 9, 2016, 5:38 PM

— -- Following accusations that employees of the company actively suppressed conservative news, Facebook has responded saying it has "rigorous" guidelines in place to ensure neutrality for its trending lists.

Tech website Gizmodo reported today that Facebook "news curators" were instructed to artificially "inject" selected stories into Facebook's "Trending Topics" list, which appears in the top right corner of each user's Facebook homepage. ABC News could not independently verify that report.

"There are rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality,” Facebook said in a statement to ABC News. “These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives.”

The unnamed sources, who told Gizmodo they are Facebook contractors, said that conservative news outlets, such as Washington Examiner were picked up by Facebook's algorithm as trending, or popular, news stories. But they were excluded from the list of trending topics unless "mainstream" sites like New York Times and the BBC covered the same issue, Gizmodo said.

In the statement, Facebook added that their guidelines “do not prohibit any news outlet from appearing in Trending Topics."

Some former curators told Gizmodo that they denied consciously suppressing conservative news, saying there was no evidence Facebook management was aware of any political bias at work.

Facebook said it has 1.09 billion daily active users as of March 2016, about 94 percent of which are outside the U.S. and Canada.

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