The U.S. Senate has decided to step in and investigate allegations that social media giant Facebook suppresses conservative news and promotes liberal agendas.
Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a letter to explain the company’s editorial practices as well as its criteria for selecting Trending Topics, according to Breitbart.
“Social networks such as Facebook are an increasingly important source of news for many Americans and people around the world,” the senator said.
Thune’s letter comes after allegations that Facebook routinely census conservative news and highlights liberal agendas, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Former curators at the company claimed the company deliberately and routinely censored conservative stories and viewpoints.
Former Facebook staffers say conservative news is deliberately suppressedhttps://t.co/VpUyAMXxak
— FOX & Friends (@foxandfriends) May 10, 2016
Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over media and Internet communication issues, said the matter was one the committee took seriously.
The senator’s letter went on to say that if Facebook is misleading the public if it presents users with the idea that its Trending Topics is the result of a neutral, objective algorithm when it is not.
The Republican National Committee created a petition called “Facebook Must Answer For Conservative Censorship” in response to the allegations.
Tom Stocky, who is in charge of Facebook’s Trending Topics, denied any wrongdoing.
“Facebook does not allow or advise our reviewers to systematically discriminate against sources of any ideological origin and we’ve designed our tools to make that technically not feasible,” he said.
He added that violating the company’s guidelines is a termination offense.
While Facebook is a privately owned company and can do whatever it wants, it’s quite another thing to mislead the public. If it chooses to promote these kinds of ideas and censor topics, it should be honest about it and be brave enough to endure the consequences of doing so.
That said, there’s no call for the federal government to get involved in this at all. The Senate should back off and allow Facebook the same First Amendment rights that Facebook would apparently like to see conservatives denied.
Share this story on Facebook and Twitter if you think Facebook should be honest with Americans about how it distributes stories, regardless of their ideology.