I had to log off early Friday afternoon to catch a basketball game down in Boston, but news of a new Facebook whistleblower dropped before logging off. So naturally, this spread like wildfire across news outlets and blogs across the internet. I mean, just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did. But then some.
I try not to “log on” on the weekends, but I occasionally check the news to see if anything noteworthy popped off, so after a glance at my usual feeds, I saw an avalanche of negative press coverage aimed at Facebook. And man, there’s a lot. Here’s what’s happening.
First, let’s talk about this new whistleblower. The Washington Post first broke the story, and basically, it talks about how Facebook allegedly “prizes growth and profits over combating hate speech, misinformation and other threats to the public.” No surprise here, but check out this part:
As the company sought to quell the political controversy during a critical period in 2017, Facebook communications official Tucker Bounds allegedly said, according to the affidavit, “It will be a flash in the pan. Some legislators will get pissy. And then in a few weeks they will move onto something else. Meanwhile we are printing money in the basement, and we are fine.”
It’s worth sharing Bounds’ response to this quote, which The Post requested comment on: “Being asked about a purported one-on-one conversation four years ago with a faceless person, with no other sourcing than the empty accusation itself, is a first for me.” Read the full store here.
Now, on to the next juicy story. The Information broke this story later Friday afternoon, and it’s basically how an unlikely bunch of news publications like CNN, Fox Business, and more are teaming to sift through thousands of leaked Facebook documents to drop a bombshell of a report on the company. Here’s a quick excerpt:
Upcoming news stories based on thousands of Facebook documents—which whistleblower Frances Haugen worked to release to more than a dozen news organizations as diverse as the Associated Press, CNN, Le Monde, Reuters and the Fox Business network—aren’t likely to be as revelatory as those epic leaks of time past.
That story is locked behind a paywall, and if you’re not a subscriber to The Information, you can’t read it (you should totally subscribe though, they rock, and they’re constantly pushing out good news and stories). But there’s plenty more where that came from. Here’s a quick rundown of some stories that dropped today you should be reading:
Inside Facebook, Jan. 6 violence fueled anger, regret over missed warning signs
A trove of internal documents turned over to the SEC provides new details of the social media platform’s role in fomenting the storming of the U.S. Capitol. – Washington Post
‘Carol’s Journey’: What Facebook knew about how it radicalized users
Internal documents suggest Facebook has long known its algorithms and recommendation systems push some users to extremes. – NBC News
Internal Alarm, Public Shrugs: Facebook’s Employees Dissect Its Election Role
Company documents show that the social network’s employees repeatedly raised red flags about the spread of misinformation and conspiracies before and after the contested November vote. – NYT
Facebook Faulted by Staff Over Jan. 6 Insurrection: ‘Abdication’
Employees and the company’s own research highlight ways Facebook failed to police its platforms ahead of the siege on the Capitol. – Bloomberg
Facebook Services Are Used to Spread Religious Hatred in India, Internal Documents Show
Company researchers identified calls to violence that coincided with the 2020 riots in Delhi that left 53 dead. – WSJ
Pretty busy news day, won’t you say? And think about it, it’s only Saturday. I’m guessing we will see a lot more of this, so buckle in, folks. It’s going to be a wild ride. With that said, I’m logging back off.
And Mark, if you’re reading this, I would suggest the same thing. You’re going to need your rest; you have a long week ahead of you.
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