Facebook Helps Employees Think

December 4, 2019

I read the headline “Facebook Gives Workers a Chatbot to Appease That Prying Uncle. The “Liam Bot” Teaches Employees What to Say If Friends or Family Ask Difficult Questions about the Company over the Holidays.”

I thought “Liam” was a misspelling of “liar.” Upon a second look, I realized that “Liam” was a friendly, neutral, even trustworthy word.


Is this a photograph of one of Liam’s ancestors? DarkCyber believes that this is not Facebook’s Liam. But the possibility of this individual’s DNA finding its way to Facebook is interesting to contemplate.

The main point of the write up is that Facebook is not sure what employees will say when asked a question. To address the problem, the company has rolled out a smart system to provide some digital support to the Facebookers who have to answer spontaneously.

The write up explains that answer should point out that Facebook seeks information from experts. No definition of an “expert” is provided it seems. But that’s a minor point because we’re are doing damage control here, not thinking.

Other steps Facebook is taking to deal with interesting content includes contractors who review information before it goes live, identify hate speech, and other hand waving.

Google explained that volume makes it difficult to catch certain types of interesting content. Bigness is a burden for sure, right?

I circled in True Blue marker this statement from the write up:

In its answers, the Liam Bot often links to company blog posts and news releases. It doesn’t just provide answers to difficult questions about Facebook’s role in the world, either. Liam Bot is also practical with personal technology advice.

Several observations:

  1. A brain implant might be a useful supplement to Liam
  2. Activating the employee’s mobile phone to video and record conversation would provide useful training data
  3. Chat bots are quite useful, particularly when interacting in a spontaneous manner with friends and family. Why look a person in the eye. Just read from the mobile phone.\

Facebook is a pioneer following in the footsteps of individuals who wanted to control thinking and speaking. Who were these individuals?

Ask Liam, please. Not even IBM Watson can help with this question.

Stephen E Arnold, December 4, 2019


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