Facing flak for allegedly suppressing right-leaning stories on Facebook platforms, its founder Mark Zuckerberg said he would meet influential conservative leaders to explain them how the social networking website stays “as open as possible”.
The move is seen as a damage control exercise by Zuckerberg, who has been criticised heavily in the last few days after news reports surfaced by Facebook is censoring certain kind of news.
“This week, there was a report suggesting that Facebook contractors working on Trending Topics suppressed stories with conservative viewpoints. We take this report very seriously and are conducting a full investigation to ensure our teams upheld the integrity of this product,” he wrote.
Zuckerberg said the investigations found no evidence that this report is true.
“If we find anything against our principles, you have my commitment that we will take additional steps to address it,” he said in an attempt to assure his support base.
“In the coming weeks, I’ll also be inviting leading conservatives and people from across the political spectrum to talk with me about this and share their points of view. I want to have a direct conversation about what Facebook stands for and how we can be sure our platform stays as open as possible,” he said.
Zuckerberg said the reason he cares so much about this is that it gets to the core of everything Facebook is and everything he wants it to be.
“Every tool we build is designed to give more people a voice and bring our global community together. For as long as I’m leading this company this will always be our mission,” he asserted.
His post came days after a top American Senator sought clarification from Zuckerberg on reports that Facebook employees actively suppressed news stories on topics of interest to politically conservative users of the social media platform.
“Facebook must answer these serious allegations and hold those responsible to account if there has been political bias in the dissemination of trending news,” Senator John Thune, chairman of Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation said in strongly worded letter to Zuckerberg.
“Have 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?” Thune asked Zuckerberg.
Facebook has 1.7 billion users.