New York, May 19 (IANS) In a bid to ward off accusations of editorial bias against conservative news organisations in its popular ‘Trending Topics’, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday hosted a dozen leading conservatives to talk about how Facebook continues to be a platform for all ideas across the political spectrum.
“We have built Facebook to be a platform for all ideas. Our community’s success depends on everyone feeling comfortable sharing anything they want. It doesn’t make sense for our mission or our business to suppress political content or prevent anyone from seeing what matters most to them,” the 32-year-old Facebook founder posted.
“Silicon Valley has a reputation for being liberal. But the Facebook community includes more than 1.6 billion people of every background and ideology — from liberal to conservative and everything in between,” he added.
A report in technology website Gizmodo accused Facebook of editorial bias against conservative news organisations which led to a call for a Congressional inquiry from Senator John Thune (Rep) from South Dakota and the chair of US Senate Commerce Committee which has jurisdiction over media issues.
“The reality is, conservatives and Republicans have always been an important part of Facebook. Donald Trump has more fans on Facebook than any other presidential candidate. And Fox News drives more interactions on its Facebook page than any other news outlet in the world. It’s not even close,” Zuckerberg wrote.
“Still, I know many conservatives don’t trust that our platform surfaces content without a political bias. I wanted to hear their concerns personally and have an open conversation about how we can build trust. I want to do everything I can to make sure our teams uphold the integrity of our products,” he pointed out.
“Trending Topics” was launched in 2014 to surface major conversations happening on Facebook.
It appears on the right hand side on desktops as well as when you tap on the search box in the mobile app and is primarily for people using Facebook in English (there are limited tests being run in Spanish and Portuguese).
“It’s important that Facebook remains a platform for all ideas and that we continue to give every person a voice,” Zuckerberg posted.