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White House 'pleased' by Facebook response to bias allegations

White House 'pleased' by Facebook response to bias allegations
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The White House on Tuesday praised Facebook’s response to allegations that it has deliberately omitted stories from conservative media on its popular “Trending Topics” feature.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said during the daily briefing that the White House was "pleased" to see the statement from Facebook denying it engaged in such a practice.

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But the Obama aide suggested that it wasn't up to the social media platform to make sure its users were made aware of content from other political orientations. 

"There's no denying that the kind of media environment that exists today places a special burden on consumers of news" to seek out news of opposing viewpoint, Earnest said. 

"The media environment ... certainly makes it easy for any individual to surround themselves with voices, perspectives and opinions that they share," he continued. He pointed to President Obama's past remarks urging people to "seek out differing opinions."

Gizmodo published a report on Monday quoting a former Facebook curator who said colleagues frequently skipped topics popular among conservatives in putting together its trending topics section. 

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneTrump muddles Republican messaging on Afghanistan The Memo: Trump's critics face wrath of GOP base GOP wrestles with role of culture wars in party's future MORE (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, on Tuesday sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg inquiring about the report.

The social media giant has emphasized it maintains rules for "consistency and neutrality" in determining topics that appear in the trending section.

“These guidelines do not permit the suppression of political perspectives,” a Facebook spokesperson said in the statement. “Nor do they permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or one news outlet over another. These guidelines do not prohibit any news outlet from appearing in Trending Topics.”