- Over a dozen news organizations reviewed Facebook documents leaked by a whistleblower.
- The outlets published several reports Monday based on those documents, known as the Facebook Papers.
- The topics include Facebook’s fading popularity with teens and failures in addressing hate speech.
Seventeen US news organizations on Monday said they had reviewed leaked internal documents obtained by former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Their reports on the documents span a wide variety of issues at the company, including its fading popularity with teens, its ability to counter hate speech, and its treatment of politicians.
Some of the internal documents reviewed by the news organizations were previously reported on by The Wall Street Journal.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the bevy of reporting published Monday:
Facebook employees were concerned about the company’s business practices but were dismissed when they questioned leadership
- NBC, The Atlantic, and CNN reported on internal employee debates and apparent disillusionment over whether the company had done enough to counter hate speech and misinformation, especially in regards to the 2020 presidential election and the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
- The Financial Times reported Facebook employees urged management not to exempt politicians and celebrities from moderation rules.
- And The New York Times highlighted how the company grappled with whether to keep or get rid of the “like” and “share” buttons. They form the core product of Facebook, which internal researchers said in 2019 allows misinformation and hate speech to thrive on the platform.
Facebook had adverse effects on countries outside of the US
- The Associated Press, The Atlantic, and Wired all reported that Facebook devoted fewer moderation resources to markets outside of the US and lacked the language interpretation capabilities to properly address moderation issues, opening the door for terrorism, drug cartel activity, ethnic cleansing, and drug trafficking in developing countries.
- The Washington Post also cited three sources who said CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally signed off on censorship demands from the government in Vietnam, which is a lucrative market for the social media giant.
Facebook knew it needs to appeal to young users. Internal research shows it also knew Instagram harms their mental health.
- Bloomberg and The Verge reported on internal company documents appearing to show that Facebook has been losing traction with teen users and desperately trying to recapture the market.
- Zuckerberg addressed Monday’s reporting on its third-quarter earnings call. saying “what we are seeing is a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to create a false picture about our company.”
- Facebook representatives have said the documents do not paint the entire picture of the company’s business development investments, internal research, and efforts to mitigate harm.