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May 10 — A Senate committee leader May 10 asked Facebook Inc. whether it regularly suppressed conservative political positions from its Trending Topics section.
Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) sent a letter asking Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg several questions about the company's news curation. The reports, Thune said, call into question Facebook's representations about how the company provides news to users.
Facebook has built its 1.6 billion-user site in part on the proposition that it is neutral in regards to political postings. Any evidence that this isn't true might pose a significant challenge to the Internet giant's continued growth and profitability.
“If true, these allegations compromise Facebook's ‘open culture' and mission ‘to make the world more open and connected.' ” Thune said.
Thune's letter came a day after news reports quoting former Facebook employees as saying the platform's “news curators” excluded conservative views from its list of trending topics. The list purportedly includes the news stories being shared most often at the time.
Thune asked Zuckerberg to:
Thune requested an answer by May 24 and a briefing by responsible Facebook employees for committee staff.
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Thune's letter is available at http://src.bna.com/eRm.
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