Conservatives have alleged -- thus far without evidence -- that Facebook has shown a bias against conservative groups or censored their content.To address this, Facebook announced Wednesday that it was bringing in two major conservative players to evaluate whether Facebook displays a liberal bias.The oversight effort, dubbed a "conservative bias advising partnership" by Axios, which first reported the arrangement on Wednesday, will involve former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who was minority whip, as well as the Heritage Foundation, the right-wing think tank. Kyl, along with the lobbying firm he joined after leaving the Senate, Covington and Burling, will look at claims of liberal bias internally and on Facebook's services, get feedback from conservative groups, and advise Facebook on how to work with these groups. Kyl will "will examine concerns about alleged liberal bias on Facebook, internally and on our services. He will get feedback directly from conservative groups and advise us on the best path forward," according to a statement from Facebook. The Heritage Foundation "will convene meetings on these issues with Facebook executives," Axios reported.
Facebook neighborhood groups are amazing.
Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers -- including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung -- over the last decade, starting before Facebook apps were widely available on smartphones, company officials said. The deals, most of which remain in effect, allowed Facebook to expand its reach and let device makers offer customers popular features of the social network, such as messaging, "like" buttons and address books.But the partnerships, whose scope has not previously been reported, raise concerns about the company's privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users' friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users' friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found.
In interviews, Facebook officials defended the data sharing as consistent with its privacy policies, the F.T.C. agreement and pledges to users. They said its partnerships -- which it decided to begin winding down in April -- were governed by contracts that strictly limited use of the data, including any stored on partners' servers. The officials added that they knew of no cases where the information had been misused.