A toy robot is teaching using a blackboard in a colourful classroom setting.
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Facebook’s new ‘Liam Bot’ is guiding employees on responses to ‘difficult questions’

3 Dec 2019

Facebook’s new bot is teaching staff how to answer tough questions about the company posed by relatives this holiday season.

It can be common for people to feel apprehensive, and even weary, at the thought of discussing their working life with family and friends throughout the festive season. For employees at Facebook, there’s a new tech tool to help with that.

According to The New York Times, Facebook has rolled out an AI-powered chatbot to help its staff deal with criticism or concerns about the tech giant, which regularly makes headlines across the world.

“What if Mom or Dad accused the social network of destroying democracy?,” the NYT writers asked. “Or what if they said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, was collecting their online data at the expense of privacy?”

The Liam Bot

Chatbots have been cited as potentially transformative for the future of recruitment, but it turns out they could also be applied to other areas of HR – and perhaps even PR. That’s evidenced by Facebook, which introduced its new ‘Liam Bot’ to help staff respond to “difficult questions” from family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday in the US.

The responses focus on a number of areas, including how the company is handling free speech, election meddling, moderation and more. When it comes to the topic of hate speech, Liam Bot’s answer is, according to The New York Times:

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

Public relations

Facebook has dealt with several high-profile controversies over the last couple of years, from the Cambridge Analytica scandal to questions about power in big tech and complaints of discrimination from its employees.

The company’s public relations team developed the responses for its new chatbot based on statements previously made by Facebook executives, linking to blog posts and press statements.

It also imparts practical knowledge for personal technology problems, meaning that Facebook employees have prepared answers for friends and family asking about resetting their passwords, for example.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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