Facebook overhauled its Trending features to respond bias claims

Facebook is overhauling its trending news section. Picture: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP
Facebook is overhauling its trending news section. Picture: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

Social media giant Facebook has overhauled the Trending feature on its site to make posts more automated after claims of left-wing bias.

Facebook’s 1.7 billion users see news stories and topics picked using a mixture of AI and human input.

Under the changes, descriptions of stories are no longer written by editorial staff, the company said.

Earlier this year Facebook was accused of suppressing conservative views, prompting complaints from Republicans.

A former journalist who worked for the company had alleged that Facebook workers “routinely suppressed news stories of interest to conservative readers”.

In a blog post, the company said an internal investigation found no evidence of systematic bias.

But Facebook said it was making the changes to allow “our team to make fewer individual decisions about topics”.

Users will still see personalised news, but the wording will be simplified and entries will focus on how many people are talking about them.

Staff will remain involved to ensure posts are still topical and based on news events.

“Facebook is a platform for all ideas, and we’re committed to maintaining Trending as a way for people to access a breadth of ideas and commentary about a variety of topics,” the company said.

As their user bases grow, tech firms like Facebook have faced increasing scrutiny over whether their platforms are neutral.

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