Facebook is recruiting two external advisers to help tackle alleged problems of bias on the social networking platform. According to a report by Axios, one adviser will conduct an audit of Facebook’s impact on minority communities and communities of color, while another will advise the company on the potential bias against conservative perspectives.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled over Facebook’s poor diversity record at his congressional hearing last month. The company has also faced scrutiny over its advertising practices. In the past, Facebook has been found to allow housing advertisers to exclude users by race, while employers were allowed to target job ads based on age. Director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington legislative office Laura Murphy will lead the civil rights audit and advise Facebook, while Washington law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax, which specializes in litigating housing and employment cases, will audit Facebook’s internal operations and services.
Meanwhile, former Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl and Washington law firm Covington and Burling will audit alleged bias against conservative voices on the platform. Alleged liberal bias has dogged Facebook for years, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously said there is “no evidence” that Facebook staff suppresses conservative stories. Several Republican lawmakers questioned Zuckerberg last month about why two pro-Trump vloggers, Lynnette “Diamond” Hardaway and Rochelle “Silk” Richardson, were supposedly censored on the social media network. Policy think tank The Heritage Foundation will also meet with Facebook executives to discuss the issues.
Facebook has faced increased scrutiny after bombshell reports in The New York Times and The Guardian revealed analytics firm Cambridge Analytica misused user data from as many as 87 million Facebook users. Zuckerberg has since apologized, testified before Congress, and revamped its privacy tools to address the findings. The UK parliamentary committee has also demanded that Zuckerberg show up to testify this month or face a summons that would force him to appear the next time he enters the UK.