Update: Facebook Denies Suppressing Trending Stories While Senator Calls On Site To Answer Allegations

Censorship And Free SpeechThe controversy over whether or not Facebook deliberately suppresses or promotes stories in its “trending news” section continues to rage this week, as conservative users and politicians express concerns over the allegations of censorship. However, Facebook has finally commented on the firestorm and issued a strong denial.

“Facebook does not allow or advise our reviewers to systematically discriminate against sources of any ideological origin and we’ve designed our tools to make that technically not feasible,” Facebook VP of Search Tom Stocky said in a statement. “At the same time, our reviewers’ actions are logged and reviewed, and violating our guidelines is a fireable offense.”

However, that denial did not stop Republican Senator John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, from demanding that Facebook explain how it handles trending stories.

“If there’s… an attempt to suppress conservative stories or keep them from trending and get other stories out there, I think it’s important for people to know that,” The Senator told reporters. “That’s just a matter of transparency and honesty, and there shouldn’t be any attempt to mislead the American public.”

Even though Facebook denied the practice of artificially controlling trending news, they may have waited too long to do so. The two Gizmodo reports that first brought the allegations to light had been published, discussed and analyzed for a week before the social media giant’s response. Now, no matter which side of the story is true, the site has perhaps permanently lost the trust of some users — particularly conservatives.