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Facebook to Respond to Allegations About Screening of Topics

  • VOA News

FILE - The logo of Facebook is pictured on a window at new Facebook Innovation Hub during a media tour in Berlin, Germany, Feb. 24, 2016.

FILE - The logo of Facebook is pictured on a window at new Facebook Innovation Hub during a media tour in Berlin, Germany, Feb. 24, 2016.

Facebook said Wednesday that it would respond to a U.S. senator who requested information from the company about recent allegations that conservative viewpoints were intentionally excluded from its "trending topics" section.

Republican John Thune of South Dakota, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday asking for company officials to appear before the committee. Thune wants Facebook to respond to a report by technology blog Gizmodo that some contractors who managed Facebook's "trending topics" section excluded content that expressed conservative views.

Facebook Vice President Tom Stocky said Monday that his team had found "no evidence" of exclusion.

But on Wednesday, a Facebook spokesperson told VOA, "We have Senator Thune's request for more information about how trending topics works and look forward to addressing his questions."

The company also said it was "deeply committed" to allowing all viewpoints "no matter where they fall on the political spectrum."

The social media giant said it was investigating the allegations and would fix any operational practices that were "inadequate."

Thune asked Facebook to respond to his letter by May 24.

Because millions of viewers read Facebook's trending topics, some Republicans are concerned that any acts of censorship could influence the opinions of voters before the general election in November.

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