Mark Zuckerberg denies allegations of bias
Mark Zuckerberg has spoken out against allegations of political bias at FacebookEduardo Munoz/ Reuters

Mark Zuckerberg has denied claims that the social media company routinely suppresses right-wing news and has announced that an investigation has been launched into allegations that editorial staff tampered with contents in its trending topics feed.

In a Facebook post published on the website on Thursday evening (12 May), Zuckerberg said he would be meeting with "leading conservatives and people from across the political spectrum" in the coming weeks to discuss claims that Facebook staff censored news from conservative media outlets and artificially promoted content it deemed more suitable.

The Facebook CEO said that the company has now launched a full inquiry into the allegations, which first surfaced on 9 May. The claims came from journalists said to have been working at the company speaking anonymously to tech news website Gizmodo.

Further fuel was added to the fire after leaked documents obtained by the Guardian suggested that editorial staff were permitted to "inject" stories into its news aggregator and "blacklist" others, suggesting that human intervention had a larger say over its news agenda than previously thought.

They also appeared to reveal that Facebook relied heavily on a selection of just 10 news outlets to determine its news agenda, including the BBC, CNN, Fox News, the Guardian and the Wall Street Journal.

In his Facebook post, Zuckerberg maintained that allegations of political bias at the company were unfounded and that it had "found no evidence that this report is true".

The CEO wrote: "We have rigorous guidelines that do not permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or the suppression of political perspectives.

"We take this report very seriously and are conducting a full investigation to ensure our teams upheld the integrity of this product... If we find anything against our principles, you have my commitment that we will take additional steps to address it."

Zuckerberg made no mention of whether the documents shown to the Guardian regarding Facebook's editorial practises were true, but said the company was "committed to building a platform for all ideas".

He added: "Facebook stands for giving everyone a voice. We believe the world is better when people from different backgrounds and with different ideas all have the power to share their thoughts and experiences. That's what makes social media unique.

"I want to have a direct conversation about what Facebook stands for and how we can be sure our platform stays as open as possible."