Facebook has ‘work to be done’ on bias against right-wingers, report finds

Rob Waugh
PARIS, FRANCE - MAY 10: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg leaves the Elysee Palace after a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on May 10, 2019 in Paris, France. President Macron and Zuckerberg will talk about cracking down the spread of misinformation and hate speech. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Donald Trump has accused Silicon Valley firms of bias against right-wingers - and a report led by a former Republican U.S. senator concludes that Facebook has 'significant work to be done’.

The year-long review (commissioned by Facebook) concluded that Facebook had taken steps towards ensuring balance, including hiring staff dedicated to 'working with right-of-center organisations and leaders.'

President Trump has repeatedly called for action against social media giants, or threatened legislation.

He said earlier this summer, 'We should be suing Google and Facebook, and all that, which perhaps we will, OK?'

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In July, Trump said he planned to call major social media companies for a meeting and asked his administration to explore 'regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free-speech rights of all Americans.'

The report, led by former Senator Jon Kyl, found that Facebook has made changes including more transparent decisions on why people see specific posts, ensuring page managers can see enforcement actions, launching an appeals process and creating a new content oversight board made up of people with diverse ideological views.

WASHINGTON, DC, UNITED STATES - 2018/12/11: US Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) speaking at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC. (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Former US Senator Jon Kyl (Photo by Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Facebook spokesman Nick Clegg said in a blog post the company needs 'to take these concerns seriously and adjust course if our policies are in fact limiting expression in an unintended way.'

'We will inevitably make some bad calls, some of which may appear to strike harder at conservatives,' Clegg said.

The report noted Facebook’s advertising policies prohibit 'shocking and sensational content' and the company has historically rejected images of 'medical tubes connected to the human body.'

This resulted in some anti-abortion advertisements being rejected.

Facebook has revised its policies to prohibit only ads depicting 'someone in visible pain or distress or where blood and bruising is visible. This change expands the scope of advocacy available for groups seeking to use previously prohibited images.'

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