Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen has supplied a consortium of news outlets with a collection of internal company documents that serve to back up her claims that the social media company knowingly accelerated the spread of misinformation. Dubbed the ‘Facebook Papers,’ the document cache release coincides with Haugen’s meeting with the UK's select committee over its upcoming Online Safety Bill legislation.
The release of the company documents is another blow to the reputation of the social media giant. Various press outlets have been publishing stories directly from the information in the Facebook Papers, including the Washington Post, which reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg knew how severe the problems within the company were in regards to user safety while he simultaneously downplayed the scale of the problems when speaking directly to Congress in late 2019.
Information within the document cache allegedly supports charges that Zuckerberg himself was behind the company's decision to abstain from curbing the spread of COVID-19 disinformation in the earliest days of the global pandemic. The company has already responded to claims in the Post story saying that the allegations are a mischaracterization of the information within the documents.
Reuters also received the Facebook Papers collection and has detailed accounts of Facebook’s negligence in regards to moderating content in developing nations and non-English speaking locales. The story alleges that Facebook’s internal moderation tools and algorithms were ill-equipped to deal with the various languages of the developing nations, directly leading to the propagation of hate speech and extremism amongst the social media company’s most vulnerable users.
During today’s sit-down with the UK select committee, Haugen explained that Facebook was unwilling to cede even "little slivers of profit" on efforts to ensure its platform is safe for all users. Haugen added that Zuckerberg "has unilateral control over three billion people, [and that] there's no will at the top [of the company] to make sure these systems are run in an adequately safe way." Facebook is expected to release its Q3 2021 earnings report to shareholders later today.