Facebook to review for racial, anti-conservative biases

Facebook to review for racial, anti-conservative biases
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Facebook on Wednesday confirmed that it is bringing in two outside advisers to help it run an audit of the platform's effect on communities of color and to offer advice on the social media giant's alleged bias against conservatives.

The new advisers come shortly after Facebook dealt with reports uncovering how its ad platform could allow discrimination and charges from Republican lawmakers that Facebook censors conservative opinions.

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The so-called civil rights audit, which was first reported by Axios, will be led by Laura Murphy, the former director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington Legislative Office.

D.C.-based law firm Relman, Dane & Colfax will conduct the civil rights audit of Facebook's services and internal operations.

Former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) will be the lead adviser in the company’s conservative bias review.

Kyl’s work will include soliciting feedback about Facebook from conservative groups and developing remedies from these suggestions.

As a part of this push, Facebook executives will have meetings with the conservative Heritage Foundation.

“Getting outside feedback will help us improve over time — ensuring that we can more effectively serve the people on Facebook,” Joel Kaplan, vice president of global policy at Facebook, said in a statement emailed to The Hill.

Facebook faced scrutiny from the Congressional Black Caucus following a 2016 ProPublica report revealing that advertisers could use its platform to discriminate against African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans in posting housing ads, a potential violation of the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Subsequent reports revealed other ways that Facebook could be used to discriminate against marginalized groups.

Conservatives like Sens. Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonSunday shows preview: 2020 Democrats jockey for top spot ahead of Nevada caucuses Senate votes to rein in Trump's power to attack Iran Coronavirus poses risks for Trump in 2020 MORE (R-Ark.) and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzDemocrats: It's Trump's world, and we're just living in it On The Trail: Bernie Sanders and the paradox of choice Pompeo to speak to influential conservative group in Iowa MORE (R-Texas) have raised the issue of potential anti-conservative bias on Facebook’s platform during congressional hearings in which top company officials testified.

The House Judiciary Committee held a chaotic hearing on the subject last week.