Facebook made a chatbot for employees to defend it from their families

Now they’ll know what to say when their auntie asks why they work for Zuckerberg.

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If there’s anything Facebook has on other tech companies, it’s this: none of them come close to matching its appalling reputation. That’s what being the subject of endless data-privacy scandals does to people’s perception of you, and Facebook clearly knows this. That, along with the fact it isn’t doing enough to stop the spread of fake news on its site (among other issues), can make it difficult for Facebook employees to explain their moral compass — especially to family members during the holidays. Thankfully for them, their employer has their back: Facebook built a chatbot to help them answer difficult questions from friends or family about their company.

No, this isn't an April Fool's joke. It's a real thing Facebook has done.

What can the chatbot do? — According to The New York Times, the "Liam Bot" was designed to use artificial intelligence to have a conversation about topics like how Facebook handles hate speech or cite statistics about how the company enforces its standards. Essentially, if you were a Facebook employee and had your aunt or uncle pry you at a holiday party about all the controversies Facebook has been involved in, you could just pull out your phone and the chatbot would tell you what to say to them. Here are some key points the Liam Bot focuses on to answer sticky questions from workers' loved ones:

  • Facebook consults with experts on the matter.
  • It has hired more moderators to police its content.
  • It is working on A.I. to spot hate speech.
  • Regulation is important for addressing the issue.

Read the room, Facebook — It makes sense that Facebook would want to make life easier for its employees, but the Liam Bot still comes off as yet another tone-deaf move from the company. Remember when it was offering gift cards to teenagers in exchange for access to their personal data, while it was still dealing with the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal? At this point, perhaps, the fact that the Liam Bot exists shouldn't come as a surprise at all.