The Guardian obtained documents revealing that Facebook largely relies on its human editors to make judgments about what should go in the Trending section—much like news outlets do. The guidelines confirm what everyone keeps saying: Facebook is a media organization, whether the company realizes it or not.
Here are some salient bits from the documents, which include notes on style and newsworthiness:
• Write for a general, PG-13 audience. Don’t assume familiarity with subject matter.
• Hashtags are verbatim phrases that trend. Altering them would be changing the organic composition of the trend.
• Do not copy another outlet’s headline. For legal reasons, all of our descriptions need to be original.
• You should mark a topic as “National Story” importance if it is . . . leading at least 5 of the following 10 news websites: BBC News, CNN, Fox News, the Guardian, NBC News, the New York Times, USA Today, the WSJ, Washington Post, Yahoo News.
This will surely fan allegations that Facebook is biased against conservative news, since the aforementioned trusted news sources are left-leaning, for the most part.