By Olivia Cerci
Holiday chatter in the 21st century always seems sure to touch on a largely anticipated, or largely feared topic: jobs. This season, however, the families of Facebook employees have one extra member at their dinner table.
For Facebook employees, job discussion has largely evolved over recent years. The company’s diminishing reputation has led to public trust dropping by 66 percent. Reports say that Facebook employees have asked managers for tips to discuss the workplace with friends and family. Now, more than ever seems the least optimal time to be employed by the company.
Of course, Facebook dished out an interesting solution.
Introducing, the Liam-Bot.
Beginning on Monday coverage on the recently released Facebook chatbot took the internet by storm. The New York Times, first reported that the “Liam-Bot” is specially designed for Facebook employees to use for hard questions about the company. NextWeb states Facebook’s public relations teams created a custom AI-bot. The bot is intended to deflect criticism and provide employees with official company answers.
When questioned, the Liam-Bot often answers with links to Facebook blog posts or news releases.
The chatbot, software able to respond to text or speech, comes after a slew of other Facebook controversies. Business Insider notes that Facebook is at the forefront of election meddling and data surveillance concerns in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
A Facebook spokesman confirmed the existence of the Liam-Bot. He related that the company began testing the bot in the early spring months of this year, culminating in its recent release for Thanksgiving. Current speculation is unsure if the bot will be around for the entirety of the Christmas season.
Additionally, a handful of organizations have voiced discomfort that “in typical Facebook style, the company is tackling this problem through automated technological innovation instead of addressing the underlying human issue.”
Bullying the Bot
Online responses have ranged from critique to mocking. Some Twitter responses have described the bot as “dystopian” and “sad.” Other critics, however, have taken a lighthearted approach to tease the social media giant. Furthermore, Google’s senior manager Adrienne Porter Felt has created a bot of her own. Felt’s bot provides Facebook-esque answers to unrelated questions on relationships and family.
While Liam may have seemed a noble endeavor, the automated answers of the bot may have furthered public distrust. Relying on a bot to answer questions about one’s job begs others to question the savory nature of the corporation. Perhaps Facebook hoped to make a public recovery by bringing corporate answers to the dinner tables, but this bot may have botched up the hopes of achieving such a goal.