By Jonah Bennett
Tom Stocky, the Facebook executive who runs Trending Topics at the social media company, which is currently facing allegations of censoring conservative news outlets, has donated $5,400 to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Public records at OpenSecrets.org show that Tom and his wife Avni Stocky each donated $2,700 to Clinton in October, 2015, The Federalist reports.
But a donation is not the extent of Tom Stocky’s political expression. According to The Federalist, Stocky also has posted in favor of gay marriage and said the goal behind the Paris attacks was to encourage Westerners to persecute Muslims. He added terrorists who kill people aren’t actually Muslims.
Back in 2012, Stocky posted clips of President Barack Obama’s speech against guns after the Sandy Hook shooting.
Stocky’s political background, being decidedly left-leaning, is yet another example buttressing allegations of bias in the news curation process. A report from Gizmodo featured a former news curator saying that news curators, who were almost unilaterally from Ivy League schools, often refused to allow organically popular content from conservative outlets to trend. News curators also, apparently kept somewhat of an informal blacklist, in order to exclude points of view from outlets like Breitbart, The Blaze, The Washington Examiner, Newsmax and others. Management also allegedly instructed curators to inject stories like Black Lives Matter into the trending column, which Facebook has categorically denied.
However, Facebook has admitted that although guidelines do exist, curators have a lot of discretion.
“We have in place strict guidelines for our trending topic reviewers as they audit topics surfaced algorithmically: reviewers are required to accept topics that reflect real world events, and are instructed to disregard junk or duplicate topics, hoaxes, or subjects with insufficient sources,” Facebook said in a statement.
These allegations have prompted GOP Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, to open an investigation, asking Facebook to answer a long series of questions on news curation practices at the company and to provide data dating back to January, 2014, on stories “injected” into the trending feature or denied.