Speaking this week at the Washington, D.C., headquarters of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said that the tech giant is now incorporating training to avoid “political bias” in its employee education offerings. This announcement comes in the wake of last month’s allegations of censorship from some of the social media giant’s former employees, who told a technology blog that they had suppressed conservative stories and injected others into Facebook’s trending news stream.
In line with the company position since the beginning of this storm, Sandberg asserted that no systemic bias exists at Facebook. However, her team took the accusation seriously and admitted, “Frankly, it rang true to some people because there is concern that Silicon Valley companies have a liberal bias.” In her talk with AEI President Arthur Brooks, who was one of the conservative leaders invited to meet with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg about this controversy last month, Sandberg sought to make clear that Facebook is a tech company, not a media company. She added, “We don’t have a point of view, we’re not trying to make you have a point of view.”
Notably, immediately after the eruption of this controversy, Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of National Religious Broadcasters, said, “Facebook should take this opportunity to declare its commitment to free speech for all on its platform and to implement a transparent policy holding its employees accountable for not discriminating, consciously or subconsciously, against viewpoints they may not value or agree with.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: June 24, 2016