Rep. Steve Scalise grilled Facebook CEO and Chairman Mark Zuckerberg Wednesday over alleged bias against conservatives that manifests in Facebook’s algorithm.
“I know some of the people that work for Facebook, Campbell Brown said, for example, this is changing our relationship with publishers,” Scalise opened. “I do want to ask you about a study that was done dealing with the algorithm that Facebook uses to describe what is fed to people through the news feed.
“What they found was after this new algorithm was implemented that there was a tremendous bias against conservative news and content and a favorable bias towards liberal content, and if you can look at that, that shows a 16-point disparity, which is concerning.”
Scalise admitted he didn’t expect Zuckerberg to share the news feed algorithm in its entirety, he asked “who develops the algorithm?”
“You can determine whether or not you want to write an algorithm to sort data, to compartmentalize data, but you can also put a bias in if that’s the directive,” the Louisiana congressman continued. “Was there a directive to put a bias in, and first, are you aware of this bias that many people have looked at and analyzed and seen?”
“Congressman, this is a really important question,” Zuckerberg responded. “There is absolutely no directive in any of the changes that we make to have a bias in anything that we do. To the contrary, our goal is to be a platform for all ideas.”
Scalise cut off Zuckerberg before he could further pontificate and implored his to “go back and look and determine if there was a bias whoever developed that software.”
“You have 20,000 people that work on some of this data analysis. If you can look and see if there is a bias and let us know if there is and what you’re doing about it, because that is disturbing when you see that kind of disparity.”