The world’s most popular social media platform is taking action against accusations of liberal bias. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s creator and CEO, faced a tough meeting on Capitol Hill in April. The congressional hearing brought into focus a list of complaints that have swirled around the tech giant for years, including allegations of racism, ageism, and a liberal political agenda.
Zuckerberg, in a show of good faith, has retained the services of former GOP Senator Jon Kyl and a D.C.-based law firm, Covington and Burling, to investigate the claims of political bias. Zuckerberg has stated in the past that there is no evidence for these claims, but appears willing to address the issue head on. In addition to the audit of political favoritism, a group of Facebook executives will also be meeting with a well-known conservative policy group, the Heritage Foundation. The accusations of an anti-conservative slant amongst Facebook employees stems mostly from incidents in which two different pro-Trump vloggers found their work withheld or restricted.
The swell of concern confronting Facebook was amplified by the recent disclosure in the media that Cambridge Analytica, a firm partnered with Facebook, exploited the data from more than 87 million Facebook users. Facebook addressed that issue with a thorough review and update of its privacy rules. The behavior of the company, and its CEO, has never been indicative of an organization with ambitions of entering the political fray, but in a world increasingly connected, often by Facebook itself, politics and social networks are linked. The repercussions of these global linkages, created by Facebook, reverberate well beyond Washington, D.C. The U.K. Parliament in London has requested Zuckerberg testify within the next month.
The willingness by Zuckerberg to address not only the political bias complaints, but also the racism and ageism issues, will hopefully allow the social media titan to refocus on what it is best at: namely, connecting the world.