In the not so distant past, it was a point of pride to be working at one of those Silicon Valley companies, especially if that company is the hip and young Facebook. After Cambridge Analytica, however, it became almost a liability, especially at family gatherings like Thanksgiving. Whether from family or friends, Facebook employees find themselves at the center of inquiries regarding accusations hurled at their employer. And to make it easier for both them and the company’s execs, Facebook created the most appropriate tool to train their workforce on how to answer those questions: a chatbot.
It’s not hard not to know Facebook these days, whether or not you’re actually using the social network. The company has come under fire for scandals in politics, privacy, and security that the media has naturally jumped on. Such news will undoubtedly land on a family member’s lap, including the ones that might be too inquisitive or even too accusatory.
In the past, Facebook would actually give employees some guidance on news safe to share during holidays. They also include how to answer the most commonly asked questions, especially when it comes to questions of privacy or election involvement. That can get pretty repetitive and tiring, especially given Facebook’s scandals never seem to shrink but continue to grow.
Enter “Liam Bot”, the AI-backed chatbot that Facebook developed internally to help employees find the right answers to those tough questions. As a chatbot, the interface is conversational, with the employee role-playing that curious relative or friend. Liam Bot would then spit out the very same answers Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook execs give during press conferences. In other words, it’s a literal PR machine.
There is something almost comical yet at the same time eerie about the idea of a chatbot dictating to users what they should reply to questions. Admittedly, it’s a more efficient way than sending out memos on every major holiday. It could also provide Facebook data on what questions employees get asked the most and tweak Liam’s brain to give the best canned answer as possible.