by Juliana Kenny
Facebook is working to fix its media problem. On Thursday, two weeks after a report emerged revealing that its employees regularly suppress conservative news, two prominent conservative leaders in media told Fox News icon Megyn Kelly that the social network company recognizes it has work to do when it comes to making its “trending topics” feature fair and functional. (On May 9, a Gizmodo article reported that ex-news curators from Facebook admitted to artificially “injecting” selected stories into Facebook’s trending news module, suppressing stories from conservative news outlets.)
Dana Perino, former White House press secretary for President George W. Bush, and Tucker Carlson, founder of the Daily Caller, were both in a closed-door meeting with Facebook on Wednesday along with other conservative leaders. They told Kelly that Facebook acknowledged that it has a “trust problem” with its conservative users that it must resolve.
From the outset of this scandal, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has insisted that Facebook is dedicated to fair representation of news items for its trending topics, but Perino pointed out that company representatives also discussed the relative newness of the feature on Facebook’s newsfeed, and therefore the potential for imperfection.
Carlson emphasized Facebook’s influence in the world of media — calling it more powerful than “Hearst or any of the newspaper barons of the early 20th century,” adding that the company, luckily, isn’t taking that position lightly.
This meeting came on the heels of weeks of criticism and outcries from the conservative community — many media outlets of which have massive followings on Facebook and engage with millions of users. Even if you don’t personally align with conservative politics or views, it’s clear that a company that reaches billions of people with its trending news items should make a significant effort to make sure selection of those items remains unbiased.