Kyl Report: Facebook Faces Workplace Viewpoint Diversity Challenges

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Facebook continues to face challenges with viewpoint diversity among its employees and board of directors, impacting the creation and implementation of content policies and algorithms, according to an interim Facebook study released Tuesday by former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ).

Sen. Kyl was commissioned by Facebook to conduct a review of concerns regarding perceived bias by Facebook against conservative organizations, individuals and lawmakers. The study, which was conducted with the law firm Covington & Burling, interviewed numerous right-leaning and conservative individuals and organizations about their experiences on the social media platform.

Among the study’s findings was that interviewees believed the root cause of Facebook’s problems with political bias is its employee base, which is overwhelmingly liberal.

“A majority of our interviewees were concerned that Facebook employees—many of whom reside in Silicon Valley—hold left-of-center viewpoints that impact the creation and implementation of content policies and algorithms,” the report says.

“Many interviewees believed that Facebook is a liberal organization with liberal employees, making interviewees skeptical that the platform’s policies are fairly written and enforced.”

The study also noted that interview subjects expressed concern about the composition of Facebook’s board of directors.

“Some interviewees specifically complained that Facebook’s Board of Directors lacks conservative members,” the report says.

While Facebook’s board skews left — its members include CEO Mark Zuckerberg — it has counted entrepreneur Peter Thiel, a supporter of President Donald Trump, among its ranks since 2005.

Facebook responded to the interim report in a separate announcement Tuesday.

“Facebook has recognized the importance of our assessment and has taken some steps to address the concerns we uncovered. But there is still significant work to be done to satisfy the concerns we heard from conservatives,” the company said.

Sen. Kyl’s report noted that in late 2018, Facebook announced its intention to create an oversight board that would review the most difficult and nuanced content decisions with independent judgment.

“Facebook has said that it will ensure that its oversight board represents a diverse range of intellectual viewpoints, as one mechanism for providing an external check on any biases that may be present internally at Facebook,” the report says.

President Donald Trump has stated that tech giants including Facebook and Google should be taken to court over allegations of bias against conservatives.

“We should be suing Google and Facebook and all that, which perhaps we will,” Trump told the Fox Business Network in June.

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