Posted on Oct 23, 2021, 2:15 PMUpdated Oct 23, 2021, 2:44 PM
Facebook is not done with the shattering revelations. After the testimony of his ex-engineer Frances Haugen in Congress, a new whistleblower has emerged according to the “Washington Post”. It is said to be a former member of the Facebook team responsible for the civic integrity of the platform. Like his former colleague, he accuses managers of putting profits before moderation of problematic content.
According to the American daily, this whistleblower made a statement to the SEC, the stock exchange authority. It was signed on October 13, a week after Frances Haugen’s resounding testimony before the US Congress.
A “flash in the pan”
This second whistleblower relates in particular to comments made in 2017 by Tucker Bounds, a member of the Facebook communications team. At the time, the company was looking for the best way to deal with the controversy over Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election through its platform. “It will be a flash in the pan. Elected officials will moan. And within a few weeks, they will have moved on. In the meantime, we are printing money in the basement and everything is fine, ”he would have declared.
According to the “Washington Post”, this new whistleblower ensures that Facebook managers regularly undermined efforts to fight disinformation, hate speech and other problematic content for fear of angering former US President Donald Trump and his political allies. They also hoped not to lose the attention of users, essential to the group’s voluminous profits.
The story repeats itself
New documents that the whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked and that various American newspapers obtained, show that history repeated itself in 2020. Facebook was aware of the radicalization of many users and the flood of related disinformation with the US presidential election last year but has not reacted accordingly.
At the beginning of November, tells the “New York Times”, a few days after the poll, an analyst for example let his colleagues know that 10% of political content viewed by American users of the platform were messages assuring that the vote had been rigged .
This baseless rumor, hammered out by former President Donald Trump, fueled the anger of many conservatives and conspirators, which culminated in the Capitol riots on January 6. In the process, Facebook, like Twitter and other major platforms, banned Donald Trump and the extremist movements involved in the riots. But according to new revelations published Friday by American newspapers, Facebook employees believe that the platform could have better anticipated the problem.
Controversies that follow one another
Reacting in a statement to these new revelations, Facebook recalled its significant investments to clean up its platforms and support the democratic process.
The Californian firm is thus trying laboriously to counter the controversies that have been linked for years, relating to the moderation of content, but also its economic strategy, perceived as infringing the rules of competition by many governments.
And the problems will not stop there for the group of Mark Zuckerberg: a consortium of ten press organizations, from CNN to the “World”, is in fact preparing to publish articles based on the documents of the whistleblowers, according to the specialist site The Information.