Facebook Hires Former Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl To Carry Out "Political Bias Review"

After their appearance at a Congressional hearing last month, it seems pro-Trump  videobloggers Diamond and Silk helped conservatives cement a clear-cut concession in their long-running beef with Facebook.


As Axios reported Wednesday, Facebook is bringing in two outside advisors - one of whom will advise the company on potential bias against conservative voices to help ensure pro-Trump voices are never again mistakenly blocked or demonetized by the platform.

Why it matters: The efforts are happening in response to allegations that the tech giant censors conservative voices and discriminates against minority groups. Facebook hopes the independent audit and formal advising partnership will show it takes these issues very seriously.

Meanwhile, the other advisor will conduct a legal audit of Facebook's impact on underrepresented communities and communities of color.

The civil rights audit will be guided by Laura Murphy, a national civil liberties and civil rights leader who serves as the Director of the ACLU's Washington Legislative Office. Murphy will take feedback from civil rights groups, like The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and advise Facebook on the best path forward.

Relman, Dane & Colfax, a prominent law firm based in Washington, will carry out a comprehensive civil rights audit of Facebook's services and internal operations. The firm has litigated some of the most pivotal cases relating to housing, employment and public accommodation discrimination over the past two decades.

Vanita Gupta, President of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General and head of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division. The Leadership Conference, along with other organizations, called for such a review last year.

But who will conduct the "political bias review"? In a decision that we imagine will please the president and other conservative Republicans, Facebook is hiring Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, who had served as the minority whip under Mitch McConnell until his retirement in January 2013.

While Kyl has maintained that he has no plans to run for president, he was reportedly considered by Trump for Secretary of Defense. Here's a breakdown of Kyl's responsibilities at Facebook, courtesy of Axios.

Kyl will examine concerns about alleged liberal bias on Facebook, internally and on its services. They will get feedback directly from conservative groups and advise Facebook on the best way to work with these groups moving forward.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative public policy think tank, will convene meetings on these issues with Facebook executives. Last week the group brought in tech policy expert Klon Kitchen to host an event with Facebook's head of global policy management, Monika Bickert.

Facebook's decision to hire Kyl is a milestone for conservatives, who have accused Facebook of bias since reports that the company's content reviewers had suppressed conservative content appearing on its "Trending Topics."

The uproar led to an official Senate inquiry, and several Republican lawmakers aggressively questioned Zuckerberg about it during last month's Facebook hearings.

While the company has already seemingly done everything short of the audit (and now it's doing that) to keep progressives happy, Zuckerberg has finally realized that Facebook can't afford to alienate Republicans, either. After all, they control the two branches of government that matter most to Facebook. And with Democratic lawmakers like Mark Warner calling for increased regulation for social media platforms, Zuckerberg must rely on Republicans to keep regulations at bay. Otherwise, angry investors might not be so forgiving next time Zuckerberg finds himself embroiled in a scandal on two continents.