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.
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.
FACEBOOK WAS COMPLICIT—newly leaked Facebook documents reveal how the Stop the Steal movement grew on @Facebook before the Jan 6th. (also sad for me to see my childhood home region Harrisburg folks in it).@donie @Sarah_Boxer @tarasubramaniam @claresduffy pic.twitter.com/KKkH6V9L8B
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) October 23, 2021
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.”
I’ve spent the past several weeks reading the Facebook Papers, a gigantic collection of internal documents from Facebook unlike anything I’ve encountered. A few observations:
— Adrienne LaFrance (@AdrienneLaF) October 25, 2021
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.
— Elijah Cone (@ElijahCone) October 25, 2021
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.
The Facebook Papers are evidence of what researchers and journalists have said for years: misinformation, hate speech, and extremism on FB is widespread and has tangible real-world harms. And, FB has had internal evidence of these harms and just chose to ignore it https://t.co/ewReCz6zNI
— Kayla Gogarty (@ohhkaygo) October 25, 2021
Read the full profile at NBC News.