As a curator, my job was to choose what links would appear on the Facebook “trending” box on the right side of a user’s newsfeed. Every day, I sifted through hundreds of topics (or “keywords”) that Facebook told me were trending on the platform. Then I’d choose a story about the keyword, and come up with a headline and a short summary that would appear on the trending box.
Most, if not all, of what you’ve read about Facebook’s Trending team in Gizmodo over the past few weeks has been mischaracterized or taken out of context. There is no political bias that I know of and we were never told to suppress conservative news. There is an extraordinary amount of talent on the team, but poor management, coupled with intimidation, favoritism and sexism, has resulted in a deeply uncomfortable work environment. Employees I worked with were angry, depressed and left voiceless – especially women.
If you hire whiny millenials to do your story choosing for you then you’ll en up with he stories whiny millenials consider important. There’s no more need to have overt bias than that.