Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has long insisted that the company is politically neutral, but the same apparently can’t be said for all of its content moderators.
The social-media giant said it would review its training and oversight after a Project Veritas sting released Tuesday showed moderators on hidden-camera footage claiming that they delete pro-Trump and conservative posts; that the company harbors an anti- Trump bias, and that Facebook shadow-bans content, despite its claims to the contrary.
In an email, a Facebook spokesperson said, “Our reviewers work hard to keep our platform safe for billions of users every day.”
“The reviewers’ decisions are regularly evaluated to ensure our policies are applied fairly and accurately,” said the spokesperson. “We do not promote political viewpoints of any stripe and the comments included in this video are not consistent with our policies. We will be reviewing our training and oversight to make sure these decisions are made consistent with our policies.”
The Project Veritas video featured an interview with former content moderator Zach McElroy of Cognizant, a third-party firm used by Facebook to police the platform, who said that about three-quarters of the posts flagged for “civic harassment” tilted to the right.
“I saw a stark contrast between Republican versus Democrats in that queue,” said Mr. McElroy. “I saw upwards of 75% to 80% of the posts in that queue were from Republican pages, politicians, journalists, and pages that supported the president or supported conservatives.”
He said the content moderators, who lean heavily to the left, “are essentially in charge of what gets said and what gets stifled.”
“And in speaking with a lot of them, I found that they are not at all shy to exercise their political will in deleting or leaving up content, whether or not they’re allowed to or whether or not they’ll get penalized for it…” Mr. McElroy said.