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Facebook Creates ‘Liam Bot’ to Help Staff Answer Tricky Questions

Dominique Adams

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Facebook

The chatbot is designed to help Facebook staff deal with tough questions about the company’s policies. 

Facebook has created ‘Liam Bot’, an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot devised to help its staff deal with tough questions they could face from friends and family this holiday season.

According to the New York Times, which was the first to break the story: “Friends and family can ask difficult questions over the holiday season about where you work – especially if you work at Facebook.”

Facebook says the decision to role out Liam Bot was due to requests from their employees. Previously the company sent out guidance via email on what to say to relatives.

Liam Bot has been designed to offer its users advice on how to handle conversations about Facebook’s various controversies over the past year. First tested in spring of this year, Liam Bot was rolled out to employees shortly before major US holiday Thanksgiving.

The bot’s answers, which have all been written by Facebook’s PR team, largely appear to align with the firm’s public statements on topics such as free speech, election meddling, moderation and more.

If asked about hate speech, Liam Bot will respond with a few available prompts such as “It [Facebook] has hired more moderators to police its content,” and, “It is working on AI to spot hate speech.”

The bot will also provide its users with helpful links to company blog posts, news releases, technical FAQs and guides to solve practical problems such as resetting an account password.

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Over the past few years, the company has faced a number of controversies such as the role it plays in elections, the spread of fake news and misinformation on its platform, and its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Employee morale at the company has decreased due to the slew of bad press and has seen an increase in the number of employees asking former colleagues or fellow industry employees about other job prospects, CNBC has reported.

Liam Bot has received a mixed response on Twitter with some users labelling it as “dystopian” and “sad”.  John Thornhill, innovation editor at the Financial Times, tweeted: “You couldn’t make it up.”

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Dominique Adams

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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