Politics

Zuckerberg: No Evidence Facebook Suppressed Conservative News

Facebook CEO will meet with "leading conservatives" to address bias concerns

Facebook is on the defensive after a story quoting former employees claimed it suppressed conservative news in its trending section. (Bill Clark/Roll Call)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he'll meet with "leading conservatives" and others across the political spectrum following a report that the social media giant was suppressing conservative news stories.  

"We have found no evidence that this report is true," Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his personal page Thursday. "If we find anything against our principles, you have my commitment that we will take additional steps to address it."  

[Related: On Facebook, Talk Is on Race, Christianity and Trump]

The efforts come after a story on Gizmodo in which former Facebook "news curators" claimed they regularly "injected" selected stories into the website's trending topics section, and suppressed content of interest to conservative readers.  

The story prompted  Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman John Thune to send a letter to Zuckerberg asking how the website controls its trending module. Specifically, the South Dakota Republican asked Zuckerberg how stories in "trending topics" get approved, whether news curators can manipulate the list's content, and what steps Facebook is taking to investigate these claims.  

[Facebook to Brief House Committee Over Conservatives' Concerns] On Thursday, Justin Orofsky, vice president of global operations for Facebook, explained  how the Trending Topics feature works.  

"Topics that are eligible to appear in the product are surfaced by our algorithms, not people," Orofsky wrote. In addition, Orosky said Facebook does not allow reviewers to "add or suppress political perspectives."  

Contact Garcia at EricGarcia@cqrollcall.com and follow him on Twitter @EricMGarcia Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.