Tag Archives: Facebook

Mark Zuckerberg says he’s no longer an atheist, believes ‘religion is very important’

The founder of Facebook has found religion, it seems, according to a cheery holiday message he posted on the social network he created.

On Christmas Day, Zuckerberg indicated in a Facebook status that he was “celebrating Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah from Priscilla, Max, Beast and me,” he wrote, naming his wife, daughter and dog. Then a commenter asked him: Aren’t you an atheist?

Zuckerberg identified himself as an atheist for years, but on Facebook on Christmas he wrote back: “No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important.”

Mark Zuckerberg, pictured on the opening day of the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Mark Zuckerberg, pictured on the opening day of the 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

He didn’t answer further questions about what he does believe in. Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, have publicly discussed their moral values frequently — including in a lengthy letter when their daughter was born a year ago, in which they pledged to donate 99 percent of their Facebook stock, which at about $45 billion at the time was one of the largest philanthropic commitments ever. And they’ve already met one of the world’s most important religious figures: Pope Francis, with whom they discussed bringing communication technology to the world’s poor.

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Mark Zuckerberg Meets With Pope Francis At Vatican Today, Gives Him A Facebook Drone

Pope Francis meets Mark Zuckerberg and his wife at the Vatican

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday.

Pope Francis meets Mark Zuckerberg and his wife at the VaticanOn Monday Pope Francis met with Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of social networking giant Facebook, at the Vatican, marking the latest in a string of visits from other major tech-heads this year.

“And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” John 17:11 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Using a title stolen from God, the “holy father” held a meeting today with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. It’s rather odd why a person like Pope Francis, who claims to be technologically ignorant, has such a strong desire to meet with all the world’s top technology people. What do you suppose he’s assembling? Hmm…

Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said one topic of discussion at the meeting was “how to use communication technologies to alleviate poverty, encourage a culture of encounter, and make a message of hope arrive, especially to those most in need.”

Zuckerberg gave the Pope a miniature model of Aquila, the solar-powered drone Facebook wants to use for beaming the internet to countries with no access.

The atmosphere appeared informal, with the chat taking place in the Santa Marta residence, the guest house in Vatican City where the pope lives.

His meeting with Zuckerberg and Chan marks the fourth time he has met with a major tech head this year.

On Jan. 15 he welcomed Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google parent company Alphabet, for a private meeting at the Vatican. A week later, he granted another private audience to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The Pope has also made an effort to engage with big name celebrities who share topics of interest such as Leonardo DiCaprio, with whom he met Jan. 28 in an encounter that focused on issues related to climate change and the environment.

He has also started to make waves on social media, opening a Twitter account in 2012 and launching his own Instagram March 19, just weeks after his Feb. 26 meeting with the CEO and co-founder of Instagram, Kevin Systrom at the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace.

The reason behind Francis’ meeting with Zuckerberg, who co-founded Facebook with college roommates and fellow students at Harvard in 2004, could be prompted by Zuckerberg and Chan’s decision in 2015 to give away virtually all of their $45 billion in Facebook Inc. shares.

As of August 2016, Zuckerberg has an estimated net worth of $53.7 billion, making him one of the top 5 richest people in the world.

When Pope Francis notes, then, as he has frequently done, that according to some studies “80% of the world’s riches are in the hands of 17% of the population,” he’s referring to Zuckerberg.

However, after their daughter Maxina was born in late 2015, Zuckerberg and Chan announced Dec. 2, 2015, in an open letter to her that they would be donating 99 percent of their Facebook stock during their lives through the “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,” aimed at advancing human potential and promoting equality “for all children in the next generation.”

In May, a report from Gizmodo dropped the equivalent of a social media bomb when several former Facebook employees said the company routinely suppressed conservative news in the social media giant’s “trending news” section.

The former Facebook news curators said they were sometimes instructed to insert stories into the “trending” section that had not earned enough attention to be a trending topic, or that they had the freedom to “blacklist” topics that they didn’t want to appear in the section, meaning that the section was not organically curated by the interests of other Facebook users, contrary to popular thought.

Although Facebook denied any allegations of bias and said they had launched an investigation into the issue, the episode has left many skeptical, and doubts remain.

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No, CERN And The Mandela Effect Has Not Changed The King James Bible

Our eyes and brains are being bombarded by light and sounds and words. Our brains are being rewired, and our sense of reality is changing.

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psalm 12:6,7 (KJV)

It is called the Mandela Effect.

The Mandela Effect is a theory put forth by writer and “paranormal consultant” Fiona Broome who theorizes that false memories are in fact glimpses into parallel worlds with different timelines. The phrase was coined after African president Nelson Mandela who many people claimed to remembered him dying in prison back in the 1980’s. Of course, Nelson Mandela did not die in prison in the 1980’s but more recently in the year 2013.

Here are some examples that Mandela Effect advocates say were “changed” when time travelers used the CERN reactor go into the past which resulted in inadvertent “changes in the matrix”:

  • The children’s book Berenstain Bears used to be called Berenstein Bears.
  • Billy Graham’s funeral was televised even though as of this writing he is still very much alive.
  • Jif peanut butter used to be called Jiffy but now it’s not.

Yes, I know they sound silly – but – this is believed by a rapidly growing number of people who think it’s true. I know a librarian, and one of her favorite kid’s books was the Berenstain Bears when her son was in grade school. He always thought it was funny that it said “stain” instead of “stein”, but that is the original spelling. People call it Jiffy peanut butter because they are confusing it with Skippy peanut butter. Billy Graham has been in ill health for a number of years now, and his absence naturally makes people assume he passed away when in fact he has not. I could give more example but I think you get the point. What I really want to talk about is how this might affect God’s preserved word – the King James Bible.

God’s promise to preserve His word for all generations still stands

As of this writing, there are over 350 different and differing versions of the Bible, with more appearing every year. Since the one thing all these versions have in common is that they are all different, the potential for mass confusion is great. But for the last 405 years, the King James Bible has existed to present God’s true and preserved word to a lost and dying world. In the Bible verse at the top of this article you see God’s promise to preserve His word on this Earth forever. That promise remains unbroken. But Mandela Effect advocates say that even this has been changed due to CERN time travel. Well, in order for that to be true, God’s promise of preservation would have to be broken and that is simply not possible.

There is no machine that man can create that is capable of undoing the smallest of the promises of God, much less to go back in time and change what He Himself has preserved. So with that, let’s look at the main example where Mandela Effect advocates say CERN time travel has changed the God’s preserved word.

THE LION SHALL LIE DOWN WITH THE LAMB: Everyone knows that the Bible says that, in the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, that the “lion shall lie down with the lamb”, right? But a quick trip to Isaiah shows that not to the case. Whoa! How can that be?:

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”Isaiah 11:6 (KJV)

Mandela EffectThe Mandela Effect people tout this verse as the number one example of how CERN time travel has “changed the Bible”, but is it so? The answer is, of course, no it is not so. Isaiah 11 has always said it will be the “wolf and the lamb” lying down together. The problem is not many Christians spend a whole lot of time actually reading the Bible and memorizing it’s passages. Isaiah rightly said “wolf” and not “lion” because of what the wolf represents, namely the Devil. During the 1,000 Year Reign of Jesus in Jerusalem, Satan will be bound the entire time, right? But his people will continue to dwell with God’s people, side by side. How do we know this? Because the Bible says that as soon as Satan is released from his chains, he immediately is able to raise up an army to come against Jesus Christ in the Battle of Gog and Magog. See for yourself:

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” Revelation 20:7-9 (KJV)

Satan’s army is raised up from all the people who just spent 1,000 years under the rule of Jesus. They were the “wolves” lying side by side with God’s “lambs”. Isaiah was right, and a swift application of 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) reveals these “deeper nuggets” of Bible doctrine and prophecy. But people have misquoted the verse from Isaiah 11 because over the years they have listened to too many illustrations, videos and songs using the phrase “lion and the lamb”. Combine that with a lack of Bible study of what God’s word actually says, and there you have it. Revelation 5:5,6 (KJV) tells you all about the real Lion and the Lamb. Jesus is both the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, as well as the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. It makes no sense for Isaiah to  have Jesus lying down with Himself. But the wolf with the lamb is Bible prophecy.

Now, we could do what we just did with all the rest of the examples given by the Mandela Effect people to say that the King James Bible has been changed. God’s preserved word has not been changed, neither will it ever be. But there is something that has changed which I think might be the real Mandela Effect.

The amount of time that people are now spending on social media, sharing stories, memes and events from the day has skyrocketed. Slick looking satire sites with fake news, like the Babylon Bee, present satire and phony “news” but in a very convincing manner. On a near daily basis I reach out to friends who have inadvertently shared an fake article thinking it was real. I have watched countless times as a fake story gets shared over hundreds of groups on Facebook, adopted by thousands of people, leading to outrage over the article’s premise but completely fake at the same time. Yet everyone knows that “it’s true” nonetheless. Do you see what’s happening here?

We have become saturated in news, both real and fake, all delivered to use by the pulsing, glowing eye of our monitors, tablets and smart devices. Our eyes and brains are being bombarded by light and sounds and words. The end result being our brains are being rewired, and our sense of reality is changing. But it is not due to the CERN reactor and time travel disrupting the Matrix.

We are doing it to ourselves. Want to see how addicted you’ve really become? Just trying unplugging from everything online, for a mere 30 days and see how you feel. See if you can even last that long. Maybe you better start off with just a week. How about 72 hours?

That’s the real Mandela Effect.

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EU LINKS UP WITH TWITTER, TECH FIRMS TO COMBAT HATE SPEECH

The European Union reached an agreement Tuesday with some of the world’s biggest social media firms, including Facebook and Twitter, on ways to combat the spread of hate speech online. The EU is Coming to Close Down Your Free Speech, SO FREE SPEECH BIG CHILL!

  • The German Chancellor was not interested in the reinforcement of Europe’s external borders, the re-erection of its internal borders, the institution of a workable asylum vetting system and the repatriation of people who had lied to gain entry into Europe. Instead, Chancellor Merkel wanted to know how Facebook’s founder could help her restrict the free speech of Europeans, on Facebook and on other social media.
  • Then, on May 31, the European Union announced a new online speech code to be enforced by four major tech companies, including Facebook and YouTube.
  • It was clear from the outset that Facebook has a definitional problem as well as a political bias in deciding on these targets. What is Facebook’s definition of ‘racism’? What is its definition of ‘xenophobia’? What, come to that, is its definition of ‘hate speech’?
  • Of course the EU is a government — and an unelected government at that — so its desire not just to avoid replying to its critics — but to criminalise their views and ban their contrary expressions — is as bad as the government of any country banning or criminalising the expression of opinion which is not adulatory of the government.
  • People must speak up — must speak up now, and must speak up fast — in support of freedom of speech before it is taken away from them. It is, sadly, not an overstatement to say that our entire future depends on it.

It is nine months since Angela Merkel and Mark Zuckerberg tried to solve Europe’s migrant crisis. Of course having caused the migrant crisis by announcing the doors of Europe as open to the entire third-world, Angela Merkel particularly would have been in a good position actually to try to solve this crisis.

But the German Chancellor was not interested in the reinforcement of Europe’s external borders, the re-erection of its internal borders, the institution of a workable asylum vetting system and the repatriation of people who had lied to gain entry into Europe. Instead, Chancellor Merkel was interested in Facebook.

When seated with Mark Zuckerberg, Frau Merkel wanted to know how the Facebook founder could help her restrict the free speech of Europeans, on Facebook and on other social media. Speaking to Zuckerberg at a UN summit last September (and not aware that the microphones were picking her up) she asked what could be done to restrict people writing things on Facebook which were critical of her migration policy. ‘Are you working on this?’ she asked him. ‘Yeah’, Zuckerberg replied.

In the months that followed, we learned that this was not idle chatter over lunch. In January of this year, Facebook launched its ‘Initiative for civil courage online’, committing a million Euros to fund non-governmental organisations in its work to counter ‘racist’ and ‘xenophobic’ posts online. It also promised to remove ‘hate speech’ and expressions of ‘xenophobia’ from the Facebook website.

It was clear from the outset that Facebook has a definitional problem as well as a political bias in deciding on these targets. What is Facebook’s definition of ‘racism’? What is its definition of ‘xenophobia’? What, come to that, is its definition of ‘hate speech’? As for the political bias, why had Facebook not previously considered how, for instance, to stifle expressions of open-borders sentiments on Facebook? There are many people in Europe who have argued that the world should have no borders and that Europe in particular should be able to be lived in by anyone who so wishes. Why have people expressing such views on Facebook (and there are many) not found their views censored and their posts removed? Are such views not ‘extreme’?

EDITOR’S NOTE: While removing speech that directly calls for violence is a good thing, the definition of what ‘hate speech’ is remains a little murky. For example, will it be considered hate speech for the Bible believing Christian to say that homosexuality is wrong and that transgender men should not be in the ladies bathroom? Something tells me this is exactly where we are headed. 

Under the terms of a code of conduct, the firms, which also include You Tube and Microsoft, have committed to “quickly and efficiently” tackle illegal hate speech directed against anyone over issues of race, color, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin. The sites have often been used by terrorist organizations to relay messages and entice hatred against certain individuals or groups.

Among the measures agreed with the EU’s executive arm, the firms have said they will establish internal procedures and staff training to guarantee that a majority of illegal content is assessed and, where necessary, removed within 24 hours. They have also agreed to strengthen their partnerships with civil society organizations who often flag content that promotes incitement to violence and hateful conduct. The European Commission and the firms have also agreed to support civil society organizations to deliver “anti-hate campaigns.”

“The internet is a place for free speech, not hate speech,” said Vera Jourova, the EU commissioner responsible for justice, consumers and gender equality. She added that the code of conduct, which will be regularly reviewed in terms of its scope and its impact, will ensure that public incitement to violence to hatred has “no place online.”

The firms themselves say there’s no conflict between their mission statements to promote the freedom of expression and clamping down on hate speech.

CensoredTwitter, which has been at the center of much of the hate speech that’s spread online over the past few years, says it will continue to tackle the issue “head-on” along with partners in industry and civil society.

“We remain committed to letting the Tweets flow,” said Twitter’s European head of public policy Karen White. “However, there is a clear distinction between freedom of expression and conduct that incites violence and hate.”

And Facebook’s head of global policy management Monika Bickert urged the company’s 1.6 billion users to use the site’s in-built reporting tools in the event they find content they consider unacceptable.

“Our teams around the world review these reports around the clock and take swift action,” she said.

People must speak up — and speak up now, and speak up fast — in support of freedom of speech before it is taken away from them, and against the authorities who would silence all of us. It is, sadly, not an overstatement to say that our entire future depends on it.

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Online Church Service from House of The Nazarene

WHATSHOTNHey I have an idea!

At the present time, We start out singing a few songs from this group created by us to Worship the Lord, you may also add Christian Music to the group.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/ChristianMusicGroup

Then we come back to this page to read a few sermons, Read the Bible in a year, that gives us Scripture reading, We also post an Audio Bible to listen to while we read the Scripture, that is all on this page.

https://www.facebook.com/The.House.of.the.Nazarene

Once your done that concludes the church service for today!
And you may start at anytime!

I’m open to ideas on how to have a better online service worldwide!

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Facebook Trending Topics Will Undergo Changes Following Allegations of Political Bias

Facebook Makes Changes to Address Anti-Conservative Bias Concerns

Facebook is making several changes to its trending topics feature following an investigation stemming from anonymous allegations of political bias, the social network’s general counsel announced in a newsroom post on Monday.

Facebook launched an investigation earlier this month after tech website Gizmodo cited an anonymous source who said the social network’s “news curators” were instructed to artificially “inject” selected stories into Facebook’s “Trending Topics” list.

Desktop users can see trending topics in the upper right side of their Facebook newsfeed. On the app, trending topics are visible after a user taps the search bar.

Facebook changes names of ToolsColin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel, outlined in a newsroom post several changes the social network plans to implement, including no longer relying on a select list of news outlets and websites as a way to automatically nominate topics for the trending feature.

As a result, a “Media 1K” list of feeds, which were used with an algorithm to surface potential trending topics, will be eliminated, along with the ability to add an “importance level” to a topic based on its prominence in a top-ten list of media sources, according to Stretch.

Facebook is also planning refresher training for all reviewers and pledged to add more information in its help center about how the Trending Topics feature is populated.

Despite the changes to Trending Topics, Facebook’s investigation found there was “no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature,” Stretch said. Facebook’s investigation was also unable to substantiate specific allegations of “politically-motivated suppression of particular subjects or sources,” he added.

Facebook to revamp ‘trending topics’ feature to reduce bias risk:

However, the investigation was not able to discount the possibility of an individual straying from the policies or the potential for “unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies,” Stretch noted.

Along with the investigation, CEO Mark Zuckerberg welcomed leading conservatives to Facebook’s campus last week for a discussion about ensuring the social network remains an open platform to all ideas.

“Our community’s success depends on everyone feeling comfortable sharing anything they want,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post last week. “It doesn’t make sense for our mission or our business to suppress political content or prevent anyone from seeing what matters most to them.”

What Facebook is not completely admitting, they are mearly changing the names of the tools that is used to accomplish the same outcome!

Now even though Facebook to revamp ‘trending topics’ feature to reduce bias risk, it was said in that way because Facebook will Never and I mean Never eliminate it! You just won’t know about it, Facebook will get smarter about how to lie to the over a billion subscribers they brag about, and you will no less not see the Word of God on the Facebook platform as regularly as they are posted, nor will they Ever be in the trending section! Will Christian media still just vanish? Poof? You betcha!

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Donald Trump Adviser to Attend Facebook Meeting on Alleged News Bias

Barry Bennett, a senior political adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, will be attending a meeting of prominent conservatives at Facebook headquarters this week.

A senior adviser to Donald Trump will attend a meeting with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday with prominent conservative leaders in response to a recent report of Facebook’s handling of conservative news stories, a campaign official said today.

The meeting, scheduled to take place at Facebook headquarters, was convened by Zuckerberg in response to these allegations.

Trump senior adviser Barry Bennett told ABC News that he will be representing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee at Wednesday’s meeting.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is convening the meeting in response to recent allegations of anti-conservative bias at the company.

Bennett is the first campaign aide known to be participating. A Facebook spokesman confirmed his attendance on Monday morning.

Bennett was previously Ben Carson’s campaign manager.

Former Senator Jim DeMint, the president of the Heritage Foundation, will also be there, a DeMint aide said.

In a Facebook post last week, Zuckerberg said the company is investigating the anonymous allegations — first reported by Gizmodo — that former workers suppressed conservative news stories in Facebook’s “trending” stories section.

Trump aide Barry Bennett to meet with Mark Zuckerberg

Trump aide Barry Bennett to meet with Mark Zuckerberg

Zuckerberg said the company has found no evidence the allegations are true. But the company recognizes it has a perception problem at the very least.

“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,” he wrote.

“I’m going in with an open mind and an eagerness to learn more,” Cupp said. “Conservatives and Silicon Valley actually come down on the same side of many issues and share some common concerns. I’m sure we’ll find plenty to talk about, and I’m honored to have been included.”

Wednesday’s meeting is said to be the first of several such conversations — signaling that Facebook is well aware of the risk to its reputation that comes from the whiff of bias.

Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post last week that the company was conducting a “full investigation” into the allegations that former Facebook workers had excluded news stories with conservative viewpoints to appear on the “Trending News” section, first reported by the Tech website, Gizmodo.

“Trending Topics is designed to surface the most newsworthy and popular conversations to Facebook. We have rigorous guidelines that do not permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or the suppression of political perspectives,” Zuckerberg said in a statement on Facebook last week. “This week, there was a report suggesting that Facebook contractors working on Trending Topics suppressed stories with conservatives viewpoints. We take this report very seriously and are conducting a full investigation to ensure our teams upheld the integrity of this product.”

Other attendees for the meeting include: The Blaze’s Glenn Beck, Fox’s Dana Perino, Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute, CNN conservative commentator SE Cupp, and Zac Moffatt, co-founder of tech firm Targeted Victory. Moffatt was previously Mitt Romney’s digital director.

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Facebook’s Zuckerberg to meet conservatives on political bias flap

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg will meet this week with prominent conservatives in the media, a spokesman said on Sunday, to address allegations of political bias at the popular social networking site.

Some 12 “conservative thought leaders” will join the meeting with Zuckerberg on Wednesday, a Facebook spokesman said. Among the invitees are media personality Glenn Beck, Fox News Channel’s “The Five” co-host Dana Perino and Zac Moffatt, co-founder of Targeted Victory, a technology company that aims to bring transparency to media buying.

Facebook came under fire last week when an unnamed former employee told technology news website Gizmodo that workers often omitted conservative political stories from the company’s “trending” list of topics.

Zuckerberg said Facebook has “found no evidence that this report is true,” but would continue to investigate. A U.S. Senate committee has also opened an inquiry into Facebook’s practices.

Beck, a former Fox News host, took to Facebook early Sunday to say he is going to the meeting in Menlo Park, California, and “it would be interesting to look him (Zuckerberg) in the eye as he explains.”

“While they are a private business and I support their right to run it any way they desire without government interference,” Beck said, “it would be wonderful if a tool like face book INDEPENDENTLY CHOSE to hold up Freedom of speech and freedom of association as a corporate principle.”

On Friday, Facebook outlined its “Trending Topics” guidelines in its media relations section and stated that reviewers are neither allowed nor advised to discriminate against sources.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the Facebook F8 conference in San Francisco, California April 12, 2016.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks on stage during the Facebook F8 conference in San Francisco, California April 12, 2016.

Facebook, now valued at around $350 billion, has become a bigger source of news for its more than 1 billion daily active users. Sixty-three percent of users, or 41 percent of all U.S. adults, say they get news from the site, according to a study last year by the Pew Research Center and the Knight Foundation.

In an earlier article Zuckerburg stated that the trending policy was being followed. The interesting part would be to know what the trending policy actually says. Knowing his political leanings the policy may very well be designed to censor conservative trends so in that case he wouldn’t have been lying.

The section, which launched in 2014, constitutes some of the most powerful real estate on the internet and helps dictate what news Facebook’s users—167 million in the US alone—are reading at any given moment. So this means Facebook should have NO over site whatsoever and NO questions asked of them?

I have had profiles taken away because of the Conservative nature of the Word of God I share. For the few that actually see this post kudos, because most will NEVER see this post!

Now you know why posts and articles from The House of the Nazarene go missing!

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Facebook Admits Its Trending Section Includes Topics Not Actually Trending on Facebook [Update: Zuck Speaks]

This story was originally published at 6:35 p.m. EDT. It has been updated to add Mark Zuckerberg’s comments.

Facebook’s Trending news section includes topics that aren’t actually trending on Facebook, according to a statement from the company today.

The admission came after The Guardian published a trove of documents, including a copy of Facebook’s “Trending Review Guidelines” used to train workers—known internally as “news curators”—who run the platform’s trending section. As Gizmodo previously reported, Facebook’s trending section is run largely like a newsroom and curators can “inject” and “blacklist” topics.

Facebook Admits Its Trending Section Includes Topics Not Actually Trending on Facebook

Facebook Admits Its Trending Section Includes Topics Not Actually Trending on Facebook

Facebook’s vice president of global operations Justin Osofsky today said topics that can be included in the trending module are first surfaced by an algorithm that “identifies topics that have recently spiked in popularity on Facebook.”

But that algorithm “also uses an external RSS website crawler to identify breaking events,” Osofsky’s statement continued.

Osofsky’s statement appeared to contradict a statement released by Facebook’s vice president of search Tom Stocky on Tuesday in response to Gizmodo’s reporting. In that statement, Stocky said the trending module was “designed to showcase the current conversation happening on Facebook.” Stocky also said that “we do not insert stories artificially into trending topics.” Stocky’s statement does not acknowledge the use of an RSS feed to pipe in topics not generating organic buzz on Facebook.

The trending review guidelines released today refer to both “organic” and “external” topics that are surfaced via algorithm for inclusion in the trending module. Organic topics indicate a subject being “mentioned on Facebook significantly more than its normal level of buzz,” while external topics “are detected by crawling RSS feeds of headlines from top news sites.”

“They used external topics all the way until I stopped working there,” said one former curator, who left Facebook in mid-2015 and describes Stocky’s statement from earlier this week as “bullshit.”

“The idea behind external topics was to push more hard news into people’s feeds,” the same individual said. “It was a form of injection into the back-end algorithm list of trending topics.”

 

Until recently, the workings of Facebook’s trending module have been largely opaque. In a 2015 story by Recode, the trending module is portrayed as one governed almost entirely by algorithm. The company’s own website still describes the module in the following way:

Trending shows you topics that have recently become popular on Facebook. The topics you see are based on a number of factors including engagement, timeliness, Pages you’ve liked and your location.

Facebook also released a list of 1,000 publications which comprised the RSS feeds as of today.

Osofsky said the company “will continue to investigate the allegations” by a Gizmodo source who said that conservative news was routinely prevented from reaching the trending section.

“We have found no evidence to date that Trending Topics was successfully manipulated, but will continue the review of all our practices,” he said.

[Disclosure: Facebook has launched a program that pays publishers, including the New York Times and Buzzfeed, to produce videos for its Facebook Live tool. Gawker Media, Gizmodo’s parent company, recently joined that program.]

Update 9:21 p.m. : Mark Zuckerberg addressed the controversy tonight:

I want to share some thoughts on the discussion about Trending Topics.

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. We are one global community where anyone can share anything — from a loving photo of a mother and her baby to intellectual analysis of political events.

To serve our diverse community, we are committed to building a platform for all ideas. Trending Topics is designed to surface the most newsworthy and popular conversations on Facebook. We have rigorous guidelines that do not permit the prioritization of one viewpoint over another or the suppression of political perspectives.

This week, there was a report suggesting that Facebook contractors working on Trending Topics suppressed stories with conservative viewpoints. We take this report very seriously and are conducting a full investigation to ensure our teams upheld the integrity of this product.

We have found no evidence that this report is true. If we find anything against our principles, you have my commitment that we will take additional steps to address it.

In the coming weeks, I’ll also be inviting leading conservatives and people from across the political spectrum to talk with me about this and share their points of view. 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.

The reason I care so much about this is that it gets to the core of everything Facebook is and everything I want it to be. Every tool we build is designed to give more people a voice and bring our global community together. For as long as I’m leading this company this will always be our mission.

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