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The Facebook “trending” controversy is really about the perception of objectivity, argue commentators.

D&S founder danah boyd was quoted in this piece on Medium that analyzes Facebook’s trending news list.

The second, more interesting complaint, as Stanley puts it, isn’t about legal obligation, but about perception: Facebook “has implicitly mislead its readers into believing that they are seeing an ‘objective’ measurement of mass interest in various stories when they are not.”

That concern, about perceived impartiality, is echoed by danah boyd:

What is of concern right now is not that human beings are playing a role in shaping the news — they always have — it is the veneer of objectivity provided by Facebook’s interface, the claims of neutrality enabled by the integration of algorithmic processes, and the assumption that what is prioritized reflects only the interests and actions of the users (the “public sphere”) and not those of Facebook, advertisers, or other powerful entities.