Facebook employees must prepare for more disclosures
Facebook’s bias shows itself – once again.
Employees at the tech giant have consistently pushed to suppress or suppress right-wing media such as Breitbart, despite objections from managers trying to avoid political backlash, a scathing report from the Wall Street Journal has revealed.
Internal debates – captured in conversations on the message boards examined by the publication – are fueling new concerns that the platform treats the media differently depending on their political orientation.
The report paid close attention to Breitbart, which employees have targeted to remove the News Tab feature, particularly amid protests following the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last year.
After a staff member asked about the Breitbart removal, a senior researcher replied, “I can also tell you that we saw a drop in trust in CNN 2 years ago – would we adopt the same?” approach for them too? ” he wrote.
By 2020, Facebook had started tracking “strikes” for content deemed false by third-party fact-checkers. Repeat offenders could be suspended from their assignment. Escalations came more frequently against conservative outlets, according to the report.
The report is the latest in a string of explosive whistle-blower revelations about the social media colossus’ s thirst for profit versus the needs of its users.
In recent days, employees have been urged to prepare for more disclosures.
Nick Clegg, vice president of global affairs for Facebook, told workers “we need to prepare for more headlines in the next few days I’m afraid,” in a memo obtained by Axios on Saturday.
The new scoops were due to come from a number of media outlets on Monday to which Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen gave leaked information, but a news embargo collapsed on Friday and more devastating reports on the inner workings of the company could be published at any time.
The story that broke the embargo on Friday involved a new whistleblower who told the Securities and Exchange Commission that Facebook routinely dismissed concerns about hate speech and the spread of disinformation for fear it would hinder business growth.
The whistleblower, who testified under oath and whose name has not been released, told the SEC in 2017 that Facebook executives discouraged attempts to tackle disinformation and hate speech during the Trump administration because it would hold back the growth of the company – and because they were afraid of the consequences of the president and his allies.
The whistleblower, like Haugen, a member of the social network’s “integrity team”, said Tucker Bounds, a Facebook communications manager, called the hate speech “a fire in the pan” and said said that while “some lawmakers are going to get pissed off,” the company “is printing money in the basement.”
A person who worked on Facebook at the time told The Post that Bounds’s comments appeared to be accurate.
“This is how Tucker talks,” said the former employee. “Tucker’s quote, while I disagree with it, really reflects the attitude of 2017.”
Clegg in his memo encouraged employees to stay positive amid current developments.
âBut, above all, we need to keep our heads up and do the job we came here for,â he said in the note, adding that Facebook had made significant investments to encourage voting and increase vaccination rates.
âThe truth is, we’ve invested $ 13 billion and we have over 40,000 people to do a job: keeping people safe on Facebook,â he said, according to the Axios report.
The flood of exposures that blew the lid off Facebook’s inner workings began with a series of reports dubbed the âFacebook Filesâ in the Wall Street Journal based on data provided by Haugen in early September.
On October 3, Haugen revealed his identity in an interview on CBS News’s â60 Minutesâ.
âWhat I saw on Facebook over and over again was that there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,â Haugen said in the program. ‘information.
âFacebook, over and over again, has chosen to optimize for its own interests, like making more money,â said Haugen, 37.
She left the tech giant in May after dismantling her unit that sought to tackle disinformation on the platform, and she copied thousands of pages of internal documents as evidence to back up her claims.
Several days after the interview on “60 Minutes,” Haugen told a Senate panel that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had not been held accountable for his actions and that lawmakers should ensure he do it.
“There are no such powerful companies that are so unilaterally controlled [as Facebook]She told senators. âThe responsibility ends with Mark. There is no one currently holding Mark responsible except himself. “
âAs long as Facebook operates in the dark, it is not accountable to anyone and it will continue to make choices that go against the common good,â she said.
Other documents linked by Haugen to the media showed that Facebook downplayed or ignored Instagram’s caustic effects on adolescent mental health despite knowledge of the damage through internal research.
Haugen also said Facebook exempts popular users from certain content moderation rules and has failed to crack down on drug cartels and human traffickers.
“The documents I have provided to Congress prove that Facebook has repeatedly misled the public,” Haugen said during testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee’s consumer protection subcommittee. “I presented myself at great personal risk because I think we still have time to act.”