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‘Facebook Papers’ Reveal Internal Squabbles Over Content Issues

‘Facebook Papers’ Reveal Internal Squabbles Over Content Issues

Nearly three weeks after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen came forward to share how the social media site essentially looked the other way when it came to propaganda and hate speech during the 2016 and 2020 election cycles, thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents have been obtained by NBC News detailing Facebook’s internal debates around the societal impact of its platforms.

The documents offer the deepest look provided to outsiders at the internal workings of the world’s largest social media company, including how Facebook handled the overwhelming amount of information being posted on January 6th in connection with the violent attack on the Capitol.

Photo Illustration by Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

NBC News reports that just hours after the assault on the U.S. Capitol, Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s chief technology officer, posted on the company’s internal message board. “Hang in there everyone,” he wrote. Facebook should allow for “peaceful discussion of the riot” but not calls for violence, he added.

His post was met with scathing replies from employees who blamed the company for what was happening. “I’m struggling to match my values to my employment here,” an employee wrote in a comment. (The employee’s name was redacted in a version seen by NBC News.) “I came here hoping to effect change and improve society, but all I’ve seen is atrophy and abdication of responsibility.”

The comments are in thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents given to NBC News detailing Facebook’s internal debates around the societal impact of its platforms. Together the documents offer the deepest look provided to outsiders at the internal workings of the world’s largest social media company.

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The documents were included in disclosures made to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and provided to Congress in redacted form by legal counsel for Haugen, who worked as a Facebook product manager until May and had come forward as a whistleblower. Digital versions of the disclosures — with some names and other personal information redacted — were obtained by a consortium of news organizations, including NBC News. Most of the documents are digital photographs of company material on computer screens.

Read the full profile at NBC News.

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