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Facebook tells conservatives it may revamp its approach to Trending Topics

The Daily Signal suggests a list of news sites to include among those Facebook scours for trends.

A woman holding a laptop with a picture of the Facebook thumbs up icon in it. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Facebook told a group of influential conservatives that it's considering revamping how it identifies Trending Topics in the wake of the recent controversy over alleged bias.

The social network previously disclosed the websites and 1,000 media outlets it uses to corroborate reporting — a list with some notable omissions.

"There are some fairly prominent conservative news sites that weren't listed there," said Rob Bluey, editor in chief of the Daily Signal, the Heritage Foundation's news organization. "They did talk about revamping Trending Topics."

Bluey suggested prominent conservative sites to include among those that Facebook's algorithm scours for topics of interest or for vetting stories — including Conservative Review, Newsmax, the Federalist and Townhall, as well as his own.

The social network did not respond to a request seeking comment.

Facebook has emerged as a powerful platform for news organizations, with more than one-third of 18- to 29-year-olds identifying social networks as their primary source for learning about the 2016 election, according to Pew Research.

"I told Mark and some of the other executives that the Daily Signal wouldn't be possible without Facebook," Bluey said. "We launched two years ago, and Facebook is one of the platforms we use to reach our audience."

Bluey said he emerged from the meeting convinced that Zuckerberg is committed to ensuring that Facebook is a platform where everyone has a voice.

"They assured us they’re not out to get conservatives in any way," Bluey said. "We don't have to worry about somebody sitting in a back office, secretly taking down conservative pages."

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