Facebook on Friday announced that human editors would cease to pick its trending news topics. It said that computer algorithms will now select all trending news topics. Trending news topics appear on the right side of Facebook users’ newsfeeds. It displays articles that users are discussing the most. Before now, Facebook staff selected the topics to be posted from a list that is created algorithmically.
However, there were allegations that the human editors were biased and were not looking at certain viewpoints. The social media platform said that although it has moved to an automated system, editors will still supervise and ensure that it maintains a certain quality.
In a statement issued on Friday, Facebook said that their goal is to enable discussions for many groups, which would be harder if they depended just on summarizing topics by hand. The company, further said that this would enable them cover more topics and make it available to more users around the world.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson stated that they are going to hire a new team that will operate the automated system. One of the editors who operated Facebook trending news, spoke to Huffington Post on the condition of anonymity, that the team has been sacked.
Gizmodo in May this year had reported that Facebook had refused to display trending topics which conservative audience have an interest in. This report attracted the attention from conservatives. Sen. John Thune, who wrote to the company requesting information on the process used to select the news stories. Not quite long after, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with Glenn Beck to discuss the issue.
The company conducted an internal investigation and was not able to find any political bias on the side of the human editors. He went on to make some changes, and the latest is to remove human involvement entirely.