The Facebook Papers
In October, a consortium of 17 US news organisations began publishing a series of stories on Facebook based on thousands of pages of the organisation's internal documents that were earlier disclosed to the Securities and Exchange Commission by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen.
Facebook CEO 'Personally Decided' to Comply With Hanoi's Demands, Ditching Free Speech Stance
Facebook, one of the world's largest social media platforms, is not enjoying its best time currently, as former employees come forth to make allegations that the platform has been systematically failing to shield its users from misinformation, hate speech, and harmful content online.
According to The Washington Post, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg "personally decided" last year to comply with the demands of the Vietnamese authorities to censor anti-government activists despite the company's stance on protecting free speech - even though the big tech honcho is not rushing to act in the same way when it comes to his platform's operations in the United States.
Citing several people familiar with Zuckerberg's decision-making process, the outlet said that he preferred to save Facebook's earnings of over $1 billion in annual revenue on the Asian market instead of upholding the rights of the Vietnamese people to free speech.
Many former Facebook employees have reportedly claimed that Zuckerberg seeks to ensure his company's global dominance even at the expense of his stated values.
Facebook's desired leadership, however, may dwindle due to a recent wave of allegations by whistleblowers who claim that the social media platform fails to combat misinformation, fake news, and hate speech. Among such whistleblowers is Frances Haugen, who obtained a bunch of Facebook's internal documents backing up the allegations.
Her revelations have prompted a wave of media stories, dubbed "The Facebook Papers", about how Facebook fails to protect its users from harmful content, as Haugen consistently calls for Zuckerberg to personally be held accountable.
25 October, 13:32 GMT
In her Monday testimony to a UK joint committee considering legislation to protect users from harmful online content, Haugen said that Facebook is "unquestionably making hate worse". She also noted that the social media company is very good at "dancing with the data", with its engagement-based algorithm prioritising extreme content.
Haugen also offered some grim forecasts when asked whether more 6 January US Capitol riot-like consequences can be expected, saying that violence in Myanmar and Ethiopia is the "opening chapters" of a "horrific" novel.
As Facebook reportedly braces itself for even more bad press and readies a rebranding, its spokesperson, Dani Lever, said that claims of Facebook's alleged "harm" are based solely on “selected documents that are mischaracterized and devoid of any context”.
“Like every platform, we are constantly making difficult decisions between free expressions and harmful speech, security and other issues, and we don’t make these decisions inside a vacuum — we rely on the input of our teams, as well as external subject matter experts to navigate them. But drawing these societal lines is always better left to elected leaders which is why we’ve spent many years advocating for Congress to pass updated Internet regulations", the spokesperson said, cited by The WaPo.