As Facebook has come under fire amid allegations that the social media giant is regularly suppressing conservative news from its "trending" news section, it has emerged that the executive in charge of overseeing the section is a large donor to Hillary Clinton.
First reported by the conservative news website The Federalist, campaign Facebook executive Tom Stocky, who is in charge of the trending news section, has a long history of progressive political activism. Additionally, public records indicate that Stocky and his wife gave thousands of dollars to the Democratic presidential frontrunner's campaign.
According to campaign filings on OpenSecrets.org, Stocky and his wife, an executive at Google, each gave the Clinton campaign $2,700 on Oct. 26, 2015, totaling $5,400.
Along with the campaign donations, Stocky has advocated for liberal agenda items such as stricter gun laws, gay marriage and has also argued that Islamic jihadis aren't Muslims, The Federalist reports.
Stocky also found himself at the center of the news cycle in 2013 when he penned a Facebook post about his four month paternity leave after his daughter was born and wrote that he wishes four month paternity leaves will become more common in the work place.
While Stocky's campaign donations, political beliefs and activism are by no means a smoking gun in terms of proving that Facebook has intentionally suppressed conservative news sites, the Left-leaning company has faced much scrutiny after former contracted curators who worked on Facebook's trending topics lists told the technology news site Gizmodo that curators regularly "avoided" conservative news websites like TheBlaze and Breitbart.
Gizmodo published a follow-up article on Monday citing a journalist who formerly worked for Facebook's trending news section. The journalist explained that Facebook workers regularly prevented stories about former 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former 2016 Republican nominee Rand Paul and other prominent conservatives from showing up as trending stories even though they were trending among the users.
The former employee also claimed that Facebook workers prevented trending articles about the annual Conservative Political Action Conference from appearing as trending news.
"I'd come on shift and I'd discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn't be trending because either the curator didn't recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz," the former curator said. "I believe it had a chilling effect on conservative news."
Facebook has denied allegations that the platform intentionally suppresses conservative news and insisted in a statement that it has "rigorous guidelines in place for the review team to ensure consistency and neutrality."
In light of the media firestorm, Facebook trending lists can't hide the fact that Facebook is trending because of the allegations of conservative news suppression.
One United States senator is calling on Facebook to explain to the public how it handles news articles in trending lists, something that Facebook has worked to keep secret, Gizmodo reports.
The chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., sent a letter to Facebook demanding concrete answers to these allegations.
"If Facebook presents its Trending Topics section as the result of neutral, objective algorithm, but it is in fact subjective and filtered to support or suppress particular political viewpoints, Facebook's assertion that it maintains a 'platform for people and perspectives from across the political spectrum' misleads the public," Thune wrote.
Thune told reporters Tuesday that it is important for the public to know if there is any level of subjectivity associated with Facebook's trending news lists.