Facebook to train staff to avoid political bias

by L&D24 Jun 2016
Employees at Facebook will be trained to confront their own political biases, according to Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

Speaking at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, Sandberg said the political bias training will be part of a bias management class that many of their employees participate in.

Her comments come after it was alleged earlier this year that conservative-learning stories were suppressed on the site's "trending" news section.

“We have a managing bias class that all of our leaders and a lot of our employees have taken that I was part of helping to create," Sandberg said.

"And we focused on racial bias, age bias, gender bias, national bias, and we're going to add in a scenario now on political bias.

"So as we think about helping people understand different points of view and being open to different points of view, we're dealing with political bias as well going forward.”

Sandberg added that it is a "political time" and that Facebook are proud of the role they play in elections right around the world.

“The vision of Facebook was to enable individuals to connect, but to connect not just to their friends and family, but also to the people who are representing them and who they want to represent them,” she said.

“We don’t have a point of view, we’re not trying to make you have a point of view.”

The Gizmodo site recently wrote about allegations from former employees who say the company's trending-topics feature is actually a list of stories chosen by Facebook.

The story also alleged that Facebook staff would not allow news important to conservatives to climb the trending-topics list.

Facebook said it investigated these allegations and found no signs of left-leaning bias. The CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also met with a number of conservative media figures to discuss the issue.

L&D Professional contacted Facebook for additional information.