A Senate committee has launched an inquiry into how Facebook curates its “trending topics” section following a report that the social network’s “news curators” suppressed conservative news.
Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the head of the Senate Commerce Committee, wrote a letter dated Tuesday and first reported by Gizmodo that demanded answers to a set of questions about the social network’s practices.
In the letter, Thune asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outright if “Facebook news curators in fact manipulated the content of the Trending Topics section, either by targeting news stories related to conservative views for exclusion or by injecting non-trending content?” The South Dakota senator also asked what steps the company was taking to investigate the allegations of “politically motivated” manipulation in that section.
Zuckerberg has until May 24 to respond to the questions Thune posed. In addition, Thune requested that Facebook employees responsible for the “trending news” section brief his committee on the issue.
“Facebook must answer these serious allegations and hold those responsible to account if there has been political bias in the dissemination of trending news,” Thune said in a statement. “Any attempt by a neutral and inclusive social media platform to censor or manipulate political discussion is an abuse of trust and inconsistent with the values of an open Internet.”
Read the full letter below: