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Facebook removes referendum suggestions

Facebook has removed potentially biased status suggestions surrounding the EU referendum.

The amendment has been made after the social giant was accused of attempting to influence votes in the upcoming referendum in the UK.

When posting an update on their profile Facebook users are given prompts, suggesting what they are doing or how they feel.

Users of the Facebook mobile application discovered that when updating their activity on the site, a suggested opinion appeared, stating “in favour of leaving the EU.” There was no accompanying pro-Remain suggestion.

Facebook removed the pro-Leave suggestion from its list; both opinions were still reportedly available on the application, but users had to search ‘EU’, at which point results from both sides would appear together.

Facebook has since said that referendum prompts have now been removed from the status list entirely, due to the political sensitivity of the subject.

A spokesperson from Facebook denied claims that the social media platform was biased towards a Brexit result in the EU referendum. “People who search for ‘EU’ when they are using our status tool will see a full range of options enabling them to add if they are thinking of leaving or remaining in the EU,” he said.

He continued: “People scrolling through the list of activities see options based on what their friends and other people have been using.”

Popular allegations of attempted bias ahead of next Thursday’s EU referendum have appeared across the internet.

Phrases such as “#Brexit bias” emerged on Twitter, commenting on the apparent pro-Leave slant perpetuated by Facebook.

The uproar closely follows recent criticisms of the social network’s filtering of news content for its users.

Facebook has denied all allegations of bias, saying it has “rigorous guidelines” for maintaining neutrality in its trending content. 

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