MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook's Trending Topics section is changing.
The social media platform said Monday officials met with Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee John Thune following allegations that the site manipulated its trending topics section to be biased against conservative political outlets.
The response, by General Counsel at Facebook Colin Stretch, said Facebook would no longer use its "Media 1K" list and top-10 list of news outlets, which pulled from media outlets such as BuzzFeed, The Washington Post, CNN, Fox News and others to determine the importance of topics to include in its trending list.
A 12-page letter sent to Thune outlined Facebook's review of its Trending Topics list, and included the above response.
"Our investigation has revealed no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature," it said in the letter. "In fact, our analysis indicated that the rates of approval of conservative and liberal topics are virtually identical in Trending Topics."
However, the company did say that topics could be under-reported if there was not a high enough number of posts, reports and hashtags about a particular subject.
It also said duplicate or similar topics, insufficient sources, hashtags unrelated to real-world events, dated topics with no significant developments and hoax sources may lead to certain topics being removed.
Facebook also said it has conducted "refresher training" for reviewers, contractors hired and supervised by Accenture, who compile and filter information that makes up the Trending Topics list, which "emphasized that content decisions may not be made on the basis of politics or ideology."
Overall, Facebook said it could not substantiate claims that reviewers "systematically engaged in politically-motivated suppression of conservative news stories."
Cox Media Group