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May 13, 2016, 11:34 a.m.
Audience & Social

Pop quiz: How closely have you been following the Facebook Trending Topics mini scandal?

There was a reason that you obsessed over this all week, and that reason was to get a perfect score on our quiz.

It was only five days ago that Gizmodo published its story on Facebook contractors reportedly suppressing conservative sources in the site’s Trending Topics module. Since then, a certain percentage of the media world spent its week consumed in debate and angst, poring over takes and tweets.

Now you can put all that prep time to good use: Take our quiz and see how well you do. Disclosure: The quiz was written by two human Nieman Lab staffers, using their personal judgment to determine the most important elements of the week in scandal.

1. Who ran Facebook’s trending news section?
A. Relax, it’s just an algorithm
B. Graduates of Ivy League and private East Coast schools
C. Graduates of state schools

2. Which of the following did Facebook’s trending news team NOT get to enjoy?
A. Windows
B. Happy hour
C. Free food
D. All of the above

3. Where will you find Trending Topics?
A. In the News Feed
B. Only on mobile
C. Under event invites and birthdays
D. I have never used this

4. Which conservative topics were purportedly suppressed from inclusion in Trending Topics?
A. Donald Trump’s birther remarks
B. Former IRS official Lois Lerner
C. Donald Trump’s Muslim immigrant remarks

5. Which breaking news stories were purportedly injected into Trending Topics?
A. The Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris
B. The protests in Ferguson
C. The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
D. A and C

6. How did conservative site RedState describe its relationship with Facebook?
A. “Antagonistic”
B. “Good and healthy”
C. “Frighteningly dependent”

7. Who has Mark Zuckerberg promised to speak with in coming weeks?
A. Facebook public editor candidates
B. Conservative leaders
C. Contract worker–robots

[The following section focuses on the trending news guidelines leaked by The Guardian on Thursday and then published by Facebook. Read all 28 pages carefully before answering.]

8. What is an example of a “junk topic”?
A. Pizza rolls
B. White and gold or blue and black dress
C. Exploding watermelon
D. Escaping blimp
E. New Instagram logo

9. Pro Wrestling is considered what?
A. A sport
B. Entertainment

10. What is the preferred order of inclusion for video?
A. Currently live video, recently live video, native video
B. Native video, currently live video, recently live video
C. Recently live video, native video, currently live video

11. A topic should have corroboration by at least how many media outlets?
A. 1
B. 2
C. 3
D. 100

12. Which of these is not a domain in the list of media sources Facebook provides?
D. All of these are on the list.

13. Which one of these is not a real Facebook Trending Topic that has appeared in the module?
A. Tyga and Kylie Jenner: Rapper and Reality TV Star Reportedly Break Up
B. Facebook Trending: Platform Suppresses News Topics From Conservative Media, Report Says
C. Kanye West Attacks Wiz Khalifa in Rant on Twitter
D. Cincinnati Video Shows Police Officer Freeing Baby Goose Tangled Up in Balloon String

14. Who has the ability to give a topic a NUCLEAR boost?
A. A Facebook editor
B. A contractor
C. Mark Zuckerberg

15. Who said what? Match the tweeter with the tweet.
a. “Facebook cannot escape humanities since it can’t escape adopting values, nor social sciences since it judges rank in our social networks.”
b. “It’s hard not to read this as a statement from a hostage”
c. “In Facebook Trending controversy, remember that News Feed > Trending. Be much more concerned what FB does with NF”
d. “Seriously, has FB ever tried to explain in this sort of detail how ANYTHING works on its platform?”
e. “i’m trying to keep up with the Facebook story but because it’s also a story about the media I feel like I can’t trust anyone.”

1. Danny Sullivan, @dannysullivan
2. Jim Roberts, @nycjim
3. Zeynep Tufekci, @zeynep
4. Laura June, @laura_june
5. Farhad Manjoo, @fmanjoo

Answers: 1-B, 2-D, 3-C (D is also acceptable); 4-B; 5-D; 6-B; 7-B; 8-A, 9-B, 10-A, 11-C, 12-D, 13-C, 14-A, 15: a-3, b-5, c-1, d-2, e-4.

Sources: Gizmodo articles; RedState; The Guardian; Facebook Trending Review Guidelines; Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook post.

Photo of filling in the bubbles by Alberto G., used under a creative commons license.

POSTED     May 13, 2016, 11:34 a.m.
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