Last fall, Facebook was the subject of a minor scandal when it was discovered that they were selectively censoring news from conservative outlets. They’ve now fired the team responsible and are working on replacing them with an algorithm.
Entire Facebook Trending News Team Fired Following Breitbart Coverage
Facebook has fired its Trending News team, responsible for curating the social media network’s “Trending News” list, after Breitbart Tech began to reveal their progressive biases last month. The team is set to be replaced by a team of engineers managing an algorithm.
Facebook’s Trending News feature is supposed to present users with the most popular news topics being discussed across the platform. But a Gizmodo exposé in May revealed that Trending News operated much like a traditional newsroom, with a team of “curators” selecting stories they considered newsworthy.
It was later revealed that the team artificially injected stories that were not trending into the Trending News feed, and routinely suppressed topics that were of interest to conservatives. In response, Republican Senator John Thune, Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, sent a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding answers.
Eager to avoid further congressional action, Facebook launched an internal investigation, which found themselves not guilty. However, in their report they did acknowledge that the “unintentional biases” of its overwhelmingly progressive workforce might have led to bias in its Trending News curation.
Last month, Breitbart Tech decided to show the world just how biased Facebook’s Trending News team were, with a series of articles documenting the wacky progressive views of some of its leading team members.
Now, according to Quartz, Facebook has laid off its entire Trending News staff as they move towards a more algorithm-focused process. Descriptions for trending news topics, which Facebook says was the primary reason for employing news curators, will be removed.
Kudos to Facebook for dealing with this.
Hopefully, it’ll never happen again.