Following complaints from Republicans that Facebook suppresses conservative stories on the site, Mark Zuckerberg will hold a meeting Wednesday with some notable right-wing politicians to discuss the issue.
At the center of the debacle is the “trending topics” feature. Anonymous reports circulated last week that Facebook staffers purposefully excluded conservative stories from appearing on the trending topics sidebar.
Among attendees at the meeting at Facebook headquarters will be political commentator Glenn Beck, as well as a few other Republican party media experts.
Last week, South Dakota Sen. John Thune wrote a letter to Facebook requesting information on how the trending topics were sorted on the site.
"If Facebook presents its Trending Topics section as a result of a neutral, objective algorithm, but it is in fact subjective and filtered to support or suppress particular political viewpoints, Facebook's assertion that it maintains 'a platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum' misleads the public," wrote Thune, who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Facebook’s Vice President of Search, Tom Stocky, said the company found no evidence to support claims of political bias influencing trending topics, but did say stories are weeded out based on reliability.
After political focus was placed on Facebook’s trending topics, Democrats hit back at Republicans and implied that their attention was misplaced.
"The Republican Senate refuses to hold hearings on (Supreme Court nominee) Judge (Merrick) Garland, refuses to fund the president's request for Zika aid and takes the most days off of any Senate since 1956, but thinks Facebook hearings are a matter of urgent national interest," Jentleson said. "The taxpayers who pay Republican senators' salaries probably want their money back."