What do the Facebook papers allegedly say?

SEVENTEEN news organizations reported on Facebook documents obtained on Monday, citing sources regarding the role management allegedly played in a wide-ranging array of issues.

The claims range from the faltering popularity the social media platform has experienced with younger age groups and the role it played in spreading misinformation.

What did the Facebook papers allegedly reveal?

Thousands of documents were released to news sources that said they showed internal communications that took place in the last several years at Facebook.

According to large news organizations including The Associated Press, NBC, The New York Times, and CNN, the documents reveal:

  • Concerns allegedly addressed by Facebook employees relating to the January 6 Capitol riots said that Facebook did not do enough to moderate content.
  • The papers claim “stop the steal” posts were not taken down until after the January 6 riots began.
  • The lack of moderation to address hate speech and terrorism on the platform.
  • Employees working at Facebook requested that management not make moderation exceptions for celebrities and politicians.
  • According to The Atlantic, increased posts including hate speech, sex trafficking, ethnic cleansing, and drug cartel activity were caused be less moderation resources provided outside the US

What are the Facebook papers?

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen started taking screenshots and photos of internal emails and documents prior to leaving the company in May.

The Wall Street Journal originally reported on the documents, and Haugen began speaking out and claimed moderation issues at Facebook result in misinformation and hate speech.

She testified to parliament today, and compared Facebook to an “oil spill,” adding, “I came forward because now is the time to act.”

She said by “engagement-based” rankings, Facebook increases hate speech and said Facebook puts “growth over safety.”

What was Facebook’s response?

A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. "At the heart of these stories is a premise which is false. Yes, we're a business and we make a profit, but the idea that we do so at the expense of people's safety or wellbeing misunderstands where our own commercial interests lie."

In a CNN interview on Friday, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said, “The responsibility for the violence that occurred on January 6 lies with those who attacked our Capitol and those who encouraged them. We took steps to limit content that sought to delegitimize the election, including labeling candidates' posts with the latest vote count after Mr. Trump prematurely declared victory, pausing new political advertising, and removing the original #StopTheSteal Group in November."

He added, "After the violence at the Capitol erupted and as we saw continued attempts to organize events to dispute the outcome of the presidential election, we removed content with the phrase 'stop the steal' under our Coordinating Harm policy and suspended Trump from our platform."

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