Employees pleaded with Facebook to stop letting politicians bend rules


A senior Facebook executive said an internal document was leaked when U.S. politicians and celebrities interfered with posting what they liked on social networks, despite being asked to stop by employees. Suggests.

Employees have long claimed that Facebook is politically neutral, but after suffering from conservative prejudice charges, right-wing people are designed to curb false information and harmful content. It claims in writing that it allowed it to break the rules.

In September 2020, shortly before the U.S. presidential election, the creator of an internal memo wrote internally that “board-level employees” want to “formally exclude political considerations from the decision-making process.” I wrote.

The author has created a “firewall” around the content moderation team to prevent this from happening and to prevent Facebook from maintaining or deleting posts due to external political and media pressure. I asked for the leadership of the company.

In another internal memo dated December 2020, employees said Facebook’s public policy team blocked the decision to remove posts “if they determined they could harm a strong political actor.” Insisted.

“Often, the final decision as to whether a prominent post violates a particular written policy is made by senior management, sometimes Mark Zuckerberg,” said Facebook CEO. The author added, referring to.Some of the notes were previous Report by BuzzFeed..

Mark Zuckerberg is waiting to meet with the Financial Services Commission of the House of Representatives in 2019 © Bloomberg

In another example of 2019, Zuckerberg was alleged to have been personally involved in the decision to allow a video that falsely claimed that abortion was “not medically necessary.”

According to the document, the post deleted by the moderator was revived in response to complaints from Republican politicians.

A document, part of a wider cache called Facebook Papers, was disclosed to US regulatory agencies and provided to Congress in a form edited by a legal adviser. Whistleblower Frances Haugen.. A consortium of news organizations, including the Financial Times, has obtained an edited version received by Congress.

Haugen, who appeared before the British Parliamentary Commission on Monday, accused Facebook of being a harmful internal culture that “fueled growth” and called for a radical overhaul of the company.

She said transparency should be increased and regulators such as Ofcom should collect examples of harm and insist that Facebook respond with a solution. “Instead of investing 10,000 engineers to make the Metaverse, we invest 10,000 engineers to make our world safer,” she said.

Facebook refused to answer questions about the outcome of the discussion about separating the content team from the policy and communications teams.

Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne said: Yes, we are a business and profitable, but the idea of ​​doing so at the expense of people’s safety and well-being misunderstands where our own commercial interests lie. The truth is that we have invested $ 13 billion and there are more than 40,000 people to do one job of keeping people safe on Facebook. “

The staff was told to aim for “mysterious neutrality”

A former Facebook executive told FT that Zuckerberg had long told staff to aim for what he called “impeccable neutrality.”

This was especially important around US political parties, employees said, because the company didn’t want to be accused of breaking campaign rules by making donations in kind.

However, three other ex-employees said they observed how Facebook treated celebrities specially and applied their own rules in an inconsistent and unplanned way.

One of the former integrity team employees said: In many cases, their efforts towards the former exacerbate the latter. “

In a memo first reported by BuzzFeed in July 2020, the company itself said it had not decided to reduce the distribution of “political publishers” before the election, but such a move was ” Shadow Ban and / or FB Bias Against Specific Political Organizations “during November voting.

Former President Donald Trump, who accused Facebook, Twitter and Google of illegally silencing conservative voices in July, has been blaming Facebook for several years. Report dating back to 2016 The company’s editorial team chose not to prioritize news that was interesting to conservatives.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump has announced that it has filed proceedings against Facebook, Twitter and Google.

Former US President Donald Trump has sued Facebook, Twitter, and Google for illegally silencing conservative voices © Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post / Getty

Facebook intervened to censor Trump — when he claimed it Covid-19 is “less lethal” than influenza, for example.

However, a December 2020 memo argues that the move to dismiss the “repeated criminal” was often reversed because it was “influenced by input from public policy.” Employees wrote that “a decision was made to exempt publishers because they were” sensitive “or could retaliate.”

“In the United States, interventions seem to be almost exclusive on behalf of conservative publishers,” said Breitbart, Diamond and Silk, Charlie Kirk and Prager U in particular. increase.

In a note left behind, another employee involved in an effort to curb hate speech on the platform accused Facebook of treating Breitbart specially. Breitbart has been included in the company’s high quality news tab since 2018. “We make special exceptions to our written policy for them and explicitly approve them by including them as trusted partners in our core products,” the staff said. rice field.

Creation of “Internal Oversight Committee”

The September 2020 memo urged the company to follow the initiative of other companies, such as the media that separates sales and editorials, and rival groups Twitter and Google with clearer safety teams.

In a comment under another discussion dated June 2020, one employee “inside” consists of Facebook employees based in offices around the world to help the company make decisions. It highlighted the idea of ​​creating a “surveillance committee”. Fidji Simo, then head of the Facebook app, said Facebook was working on creating a small team of internal surveillance committees.

“It’s clearly a conflict of interest,” one of the former employees of the integrity team told FT. “They should be as far apart as possible, rather than reporting to the same boss.”

Facebook also recently faced scrutiny after reporting that The Wall Street Journal had an internal system called “Crosscheck.” Protect some prominent users A practice known as a whitelist from enforcement, even if you violate Facebook rules.

Although social media companies said they were initially working on cleaning up a system designed to review content from politicians, celebrities and journalists to ensure that posts weren’t accidentally deleted. , Soon included millions of users. It is said that the registration to the white list is being phased out.

Joel Kaplan, head of Facebook’s public policy team, previously said: Washington post He “has consistently promoted the fair treatment of all publishers, regardless of their idealism,” and there has never been a whitelist that specifically exempts publishers from the rules for misinformation.

Separately on Friday, another whistleblower filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission. First reported by The Washington Post and reviewed by FT, Facebook’s public policy team claimed to “overindex to please Trump and the Trump administration.”

Facebook has previously dismissed concerns about the political impact of certain people, including Kaplan, on decision-making. Kaplan did not immediately respond to the request for comment.

Video: Rod Sims Makes Google and Facebook Pay for News

Employees pleaded with Facebook to stop letting politicians bend rules Source link Employees pleaded with Facebook to stop letting politicians bend rules

The post Employees pleaded with Facebook to stop letting politicians bend rules appeared first on California News Times.

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