The latest micro-flap for conservatives to feel victimized by is an allegation by one guy that the Facebook team that selects “trending” topics is staffed by a bunch of Ivy League 20-something liberals:
“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” said the former curator. This individual asked to remain anonymous, citing fear of retribution from the company. The former curator is politically conservative, one of a very small handful of curators with such views on the trending team. “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”
That was yesterday. Here is today:
The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, led by Republican Sen. John Thune, has launched an inquiry in response to recent news that Facebook was reportedly suppressing conservative news items in the “trending” section of the site. The committee, which oversees Internet communication and media issues, drafted a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking about the curated section, telling the tech giant to “arrange for your staff including employees responsible for trending topics to brief committee staff on this issue.” Thune signed the letter, which also asks for “a list of all news stories removed from or injected into the Trending Topics section since January 2014.”
Here’s my question: Even if the allegations are true, in what way is this the business of the United States Senate? Facebook is a private entity and it can highlight any kind of news it wants. Ditto for the Drudge Report, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and Mother Jones. Thune should take a closer look at the First Amendment before he goes any further.