Social media giant Facebook is currently reeling from revelations from the Facebook Papers. While the company faced a flurry of controversies before, it never had to deal with so many accusations and inquiries at the same time.
Whistleblowers, negative press releases, and Congressional inquiries are converging on all sides to confront the company.
Media Began Publishing The Facebook Papers Last Week
Last Friday, a group of 17 news organizations began publishing a series titled “The Facebook Papers,” a collection of selected internal documents.
These papers were part of disclosures made to the Securities and Exchange Commission. They were also submitted to Congress in redacted form.
Former Facebook worker and now whistleblower Frances Haugen gave the papers to Congress via her lawyer. The media consortium also got a copy and reviewed the documents.
CNN, a member of the consortium, earlier covered reports about how groups coordinated via Facebook to sow discord and violence, the January 6 Capitol riots among them.
CNN also published how Facebook users in non-English speaking countries managed to go over moderators and publish incendiary content. Facebook is also known as the platform of choice for many human traffickers to conduct their business.
From Facebook Papers to Facebook Files
Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal published a series devoted to the internal Facebook documents leaked by whistleblower Haugen. The WSJ’s “Facebook Files” raised concerns about the impact of Instagram on teen girls.
This led the Senate to conduct a hearing with Facebook officials. Haugen also appeared to testify. She said that she believes “Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy.”
Senators are now calling on founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear before the panel. Last week, another former employee filed a complaint against the company with the SEC.
Many want the company to answer if they can actually control what’s going on within their pages. Or, are they content to let everything happen as long as they get their revenue?
Facebook Turning The Tables on Whistleblower
As part of its defense strategy, Facebook began focusing on its former employee. The company is now repeatedly trying to discredit Haugen. It said that her testimony mischaracterized the company’s actions and efforts.
According to a company spokesperson, Facebook does not profit from chaos. “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.”
Facebook’s Vice President of Communications John Pinette tweeted that the Facebook Papers will paint an incomplete picture of the company.
He said that the Facebook Papers remain “a “curated selection out of millions of documents at Facebook” which “can in no way be used to draw fair conclusions about us.”
However, critics point out if Facebook is afraid that the Facebook Papers only show some part of the story, why not show the rest? The company even said during the previous Senate hearing that they are looking for ways to release more research.
Watch the Washington Post video on The Facebook Papers: What Mark Zuckerberg told Congress vs. what Facebook said internally:
Have you read the Facebook Papers? Did you get anything new from it?
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