Internal Facebook Chats Show Politics Trumps All

Posted on Wed 10/27/2021 by

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By Autumn Johnson ~

Facebook’s internal racial justice chat indicates that the company prioritized politics in its decision making.

The controversy stems from the News Tab. Facebook’s News Tab aggregates news articles from various outlets and presents them to users within the app and on desktop. Internal chats indicate that Facebook employees worked to control the narrative on controversial political issues like the Jan. 6 riot.

Some employees targeted Breibart, a right-wing media platform. “Get Breitbart out of News Tab,” one message read.

“My argument is that allowing Breibart to monetize through us is, in fact, a political statement,” another message added. “It is an acceptance of extreme, hateful and often false news used to propagate fear, racism and bigotry. On a daily basis, it publishes articles that I believe insult our values as a company.”

“The fact that we have a partner manager program for misinformation escalations at all is disheartening to me,” yet another message continued.

The leaked information seems to be the beginning of Facebook’s woes. CNN Business detailed the explosive “Facebook Papers” describing internal decisions:

“On Friday, a consortium of 17 US news organizations began publishing a series of stories — collectively called “The Facebook Papers” — based on a trove of hundreds of internal company documents which were included in disclosures made to the Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress in redacted form by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen‘s legal counsel.”

Politicians across the political spectrum slammed the platform.

“Facebook. Facebook has privileged lies, damaged our democracy, and worsened divisions in our society… knowingly, for profit,” former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tweeted.

“The Facebook Papers reports illustrate that Big Tech and Legacy Media companies are not just hysterically anti-conservative—they are against any idea that doesn’t fit their narrative,” Kevin McCarthy, GOP House Minority Leader, tweeted. “What they are doing is a particularly dangerous practice of misinformation.”

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said the company’s issues stem from understaffing because the company is unwilling to “accept responsibility.”

“Facebook is extremely thinly staffed … and this is because there are a lot of technologists that look at what Facebook has done and their unwillingness to accept responsibility, and people just aren’t willing to work there,” Haugen said. “So they have to make very, very, very intentional choices on what does or doesn’t get accomplished.”

Facebook denied any internal issues.

“At the heart of these stories is a premise which is false,” a Facebook spokesperson told CNN. “Yes, we’re a business and we make profit, but the idea that we do so at the expense of people’s safety or wellbeing misunderstands where our own commercial interests lie.”

The platform said it has taken sufficient efforts to combat “misinformation” online.

“We have also taken down over 150 networks seeking to manipulate public debate since 2017, and they have originated in over 50 countries, with the majority coming from or focused outside of the US,” Facebook said. “Our track record shows that we crack down on abuse outside the US with the same intensity that we apply in the US.”

Autumn Johnson is a contributing writer at the NewsBusters site, and she is a practicing attorney licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the District of Columbia. When not working, Autumn enjoys reading, writing, playing video games, and spending time with her cats.

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