Facebook to change ‘trending topic’ after conservative backlash

Mark Zuckerberg
FILE - In this March 25, 2015, file photo, Mark Zuckerberg talks about the Messenger app during the Facebook F8 Developer Conference in San Francisco. Facebook reports quarterly financial results on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Facebook says it is dropping its reliance on news outlets to help determine what gets posted as a “trending topic” on the giant social network following a backlash over a report saying it suppressed conservative views.

Facebook’s General Counsel Colin Stretch outlined this and other reforms in a 12-page letter sent Monday to Republican Sen. John Thune, chairman of the commerce committee, which oversees the Internet and consumer protections.

Facebook didn’t say why it would stop looking to news outlets like The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post and Drudge Report to automatically nominate topics for its trending feature.

As part of a review, the company found that topics could be temporarily suppressed if news outlets weren’t reporting on them enough.

Facebook said it found no evidence of systemic political bias.

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