Facebook Training Employees on How to Manage Political Bias

Facebook Training Employees on How to Manage Political Bias
Social media giant Facebook is training its employees to identify and check their political leanings to address the concerns over the treatment of conservative viewpoints on the social network.

"Facebook plans to add a section on 'political bias' to its class on 'managing bias.' All Facebook executives and many employees have taken the class which focuses on identifying and neutralising racial, age, gender and other types of bias," Wall Street Journal quoted Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook, as saying.

Facebook wants to be a platform for an open exchange of ideas, Sandberg added.

Last month, reiterating that an internal investigation revealed no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories in its "Trending Topics" feature, Facebook is set to revamp the controversial feature in response to a Senate inquiry into allegations of an editorial bias against conservative news organisations.

While "our data analysis indicated that conservative and liberal topics are approved as trending topics at virtually identical rates, at the same time, our investigation could not fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies," said Colin Stretch, Facebook General Counsel, in a blog post.

"As part of our commitment to continually improve our products and to minimise risks where human judgment is involved, we are making a number of improvements to Trending Topics," he added.

The revamping includes an updated terminology in its guidelines to make them more clear and a refresher training for all reviewers that emphasises that content decisions may not be made on the basis of politics or ideology.

"We will also have additional controls and oversight around the review team, including robust escalation procedures," the post read.

A report in technology website Gizmodo recently accused Facebook of an editorial bias against conservative news organisations, sparking sharp reactions from across the spectrum.

"Trending Topics" was launched in 2014 to surface major conversations happening on Facebook.

It appears on right-hand side on desktop as well as when you tap on the search box in the mobile app and primarily for people using Facebook in English (there are limited tests being run in Spanish and Portuguese).


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