News: Facebook workers criticise company tactics as 'hostile' to users, document reveals

Leadership

Facebook workers criticise company tactics as 'hostile' to users, document reveals

The social media giant continues to face allegations of exploiting users. The company denies such claims, saying it has invested US$13bn to keep users safe.
Facebook workers criticise company tactics as 'hostile' to users, document reveals

A document containing the views of Facebook employees over the company's supposed tendency to "exploit users" has come to light. The comments – which surfaced publicly after last month's initial exposé against the company – now paint a grim picture of the social media giant's growth tactics.

"It's not a secret we've often resorted to aggressive tactics in the name of growth," one employee posted in an internal communication channel labelled Let's Fix Facebook. "And we've been pretty unapologetic about it."

The information forms part of a wider collection of internal documents dubbed The Facebook Papers – disclosures about the social media company which have been reviewed and continue to be verified by a consortium of news organisations. 

The papers came through Frances Haugen, the former Facebook product manager turned whistleblower, who took screenshots of company and project memos, email exchanges, and conversations on internal messaging boards to document her claims.

Haugen's allegations included how the company supposedly exploits users by prioritising profit over users' safety and by deliberately engineering content on news feeds to stir anger and fear among users.

Facebook, for its part, hasa denied the allegations. In a statement, the company said: "At the heart of these stories is a premise which is false. Yes, we're a business and we make profit, but the idea that we do so at the expense of people's safety or well-being misunderstands where our own commercial interests lie. The truth is we've invested US$13bn and have over 40,000 people to do one job: keep people safe on Facebook."

'Hostile and disrespectful'

In the newly surfaced document, many other team members purportedly "called out" Facebook's tactics as "hostile and disrespectful to our users". 

However, "care metrics weren't moved" to improve such conditions, and the inaction supposedly allowed Facebook to "get away" with the exploitation, according to a thread from as early as March 2018, after talks of how to prevent misinformation on the platform reportedly caused division among senior leaders.

"Today, the light has changed and all these tactics are being subject to the highest level of scrutiny fueling the narrative that Facebook seeks profits by exploiting its users," one employee said in the redacted document forwarded to the US Securities and Exchange Commission and US Congress.

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Topics: Leadership, Culture

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