Science & Tech

Facebook Releases Audit of Anti-Conservative Bias

(Dado Ruvic/Reuters)

Facebook on Tuesday released the results of an audit of potential bias against conservatives, which found several areas that pose concerns.

“Facebook identified some areas where it could make progress or commit to changes immediately,” according to the report, written by former Republican senator Jon Kyl of Arizona and his team at the law firm Covington & Burling.

The audit identified six areas of Facebook policy that conservatives have griped about. Some interviewees said they were concerned Facebook’s content-distribution and algorithm policies promote liberal viewpoints over conservative ones. Some expressed concern that Facebook does not accept conservative fact-checkers, though the report noted that Facebook has accepted fact-checkers from both the now-defunct Weekly Standard and the Daily Caller. Some also expressed concern about Facebook’s content and ad policies and their enforcement, and charged that the vast majority of those Facebook employees writing the company’s policies have an anti-conservative bias.

The report did not reach a conclusion on whether Facebook ever acted on bias against conservatives, but it said the platform has already “taken some steps to address the concerns [that were] uncovered.”

Facebook said it will tweak its policy on “sensational” advertising to now allow images that include medical tubes attached to human bodies, which will remove obstacles for pro-life groups and other groups who wish to use such imagery, such as advocates for seniors or those with medical conditions.

The previous policy “resulted in the rejection of pro-life ads focused on survival stories of infants born before full-term,” the report said. “Facebook has adjusted its enforcement of this policy to focus on prohibiting ads only when the ad shows someone in visible pain or distress or where blood and bruising is visible.”

In recent months, Facebook has also established a content oversight board and a content-removal appeals process.

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