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Facebook to offer 'political bias' training to employees

Facebook, employees
Michael Short | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Facebook will offer "political bias" training to employees after reports surfaced earlier this year that news of interest to conservatives was suppressed on the site's "trending" news section.

The announcement came during a talk Wednesday at the conservative American Enterprise Institute by Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg. She said that while an investigation revealed no systematic bias within the company, it was still an important issue to address.

The political bias training will be included as part of a bias management class that many employees of the company participate in, Sandberg said.

"We think a lot about diversity at Facebook," Sandberg said at the talk. "We have a managing bias class that all of our leaders and a lot of our employees have taken that I was part of helping to create, and we've focused on racial bias, age bias, gender bias, national bias, and we're going to add in a scenario now on political bias."

"As we think about helping people understand different points of view and being open to different points of view, we're dealing with political bias as well going forward," Sandberg added.

The social media platform came under fire after allegations, made by a former employee to tech news site Gizmodo, that organically trending news related to conservatives was prevented from appearing in the trending section.

After an internal investigation, the company's general counsel Colin Stretch wrote in a statement that the probe had revealed "no evidence of systematic political bias" and that the company was unable to substantiate any of the claims. However, he allowed for the possibility of isolated rogue behavior.

"Our investigation could not fully exclude the possibility of isolated improper actions or unintentional bias in the implementation of our guidelines or policies," Stretch wrote.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for additional information.