The US Senate Commerce Committee has sent Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a letter requesting that he answer questions about the recent allegations regarding the social media site’s Trending Topics feature.Gizmodo published a report May 3 alleging that Facebook’s news curation team intentionally avoids selecting stories to promote from certain news outlets, including World Star Hip Hop, Breitbart and TheBlaze.
The committee request comes the same day comedian and conservative pundit Steven Crowder announced that he has filed a legal motion seeking answers from the social media giant. The motion, posted on the Louder with Crowder talkshow host’s website Tuesday, alleges that Crowder’s blog was among Facebook’s blacklisted sites and that his accounts were unfairly targeted.
In the letter, Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune asks Zuckerberg to make Trending Topics curators available to answer questions about how the feature works. Questions include:
What steps is Facebook taking to investigate claims of politically motivated manipulation of news stories in the Trending Topics section? and If such claims are substantiated, what steps will Facebook take to hold the responsible individuals accountable?
Thune also asks that the Trending Topics team provide a list of all news stories removed from or injected into the Trending Topics section since January 2014.