SUMMARY: It should not come as any surprise to anyone that Facebook has lied and prioritized engagement over everything else. To Facebook, engagement, primarily based on misinformation, was a ticket to more profits and money.
For those of you too busy to read or watch the story on Facebook, here is the summary from the NY Times article:
Frances Haugen, a Facebook product manager who left the company in May, revealed that she had provided internal documents to journalists and others.
…John Tye, the founder of Whistleblower Aid, a legal nonprofit representing people seeking to expose potential lawbreaking, was contacted this spring through a mutual connection by a woman who claimed to have worked at Facebook.
…A product manager who worked for nearly two years on the civic misinformation team at the social network before leaving in May, Ms. Haugen has used the documents she amassed to expose how much Facebook knew about the harms that it was causing and provided the evidence to lawmakers, regulators, and the news media.
…Ms. Haugen has also filed a whistle-blower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission, accusing Facebook of misleading investors with public statements that did not match its internal actions.
…As the company has grown into a behemoth with over 63,000 employees, some of them have become dissatisfied as it has lurched from controversy to controversy over data privacy, misinformation, and hate speech.
…“I think over the last year, there’ve been more leaks than I think all of us would have wanted,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said in a meeting with employees in June 2020.
…On Friday, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for policy and global affairs, sent employees a 1,500-word memo laying out what the whistle-blower was likely to say on “60 Minutes” and calling the accusations “misleading.”
…Ms. Haugen’s complaint to the S.E.C. was based on her document trove and consisted of many cover letters, seven obtained by The Times. Each letter detailed a different topic — such as Facebook’s role in spreading misinformation after the 2020 election and the impact its products have on teenagers’ mental health — and accused the company of making “material misrepresentations and omissions in statements to investors and prospective investors.”
…In August, Mr. Blumenthal and Ms. Blackburn sent a letter to Mr. Zuckerberg asking Facebook to disclose its internal research about how its services affected children’s mental health.
…But documents from Ms. Haugen showed that Facebook’s researchers had performed many studies on its products’ effects on teenagers, Mr. Blumenthal said in an interview last week.
…In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Blumenthal said Ms. Haugen “has proved to be credible, courageous and compelling from her first visit with my office in late summer.”
…In a video posted by Whistleblower Aid on Sunday, Ms. Haugen said she did not believe breaking up Facebook would solve the problems inherent at the company.
We in the tech industry knew about this for years, but media companies and advertisers played dumb because Facebook was just big to ignore. Of all the big brands, only P&G was brave enough to pull all Facebook ads because o their behavior.
In Facebook employee message boards, employees knew a lot about Facebook’s lying, but rather than trying to change the company, the power of their paychecks incentivizes too many. What is exceptionally clear is that Facebook knew about the problems of their platform but refused to allocate the needed resources to correct the issues. Facebook believes they are a public bulletin board, yet you can be put in Facebook jail for calling out someone’s lies on COVID vaccines.
The issues at Facebook will never go away until Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg are replaced, and advertisers hold them accountable. Facebook is addictive, and they know it. They want it to become more addictive.