Well before the Capitol storming on January 6, many Facebook employees have sounded the alarm about the increase in potentially dangerous, incendiary messages on the platform after the US presidential election. Despite those reports, the platform has long seen no reason to do anything against that flow of messages.
Several American media write this on the basis of thousands of pages of internal company documents that have been submitted to the US regulator SEC by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.
The AP news agency and the newspapers The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others, have the documents in their possession. They write extensively about the dissatisfaction among Facebook employees before and around the Capitol storming.
“This is not a new problem,” an anonymous employee told Facebook’s internal messaging system – Workplace – on the day of the storm, according to The Washington Post. “We have seen this behavior from politicians like Trump and the indecisive actions of the management to say the least for years.” Another wrote, according to AP: “We have fueled this fire for a very long time and we should not be surprised that it is now getting out of hand.”
Immediately after the election, as Donald Trump made his first claims of electoral fraud, on November 5, 2020, an employee posted to Workplace about a popular comment under a news story with a link that led to fake news.
“Not only are we not doing anything about potentially incendiary misinformation about the election in comments, but we’re amplifying and disseminating it,” the internal message read.
Canceled too soon
According to outraged employees, Facebook too soon lifted the many measures it had put in place to curb the spread of fake news around the US presidential election.
That was also the conclusion in an internal evaluation of Facebook, according to the documents, which state that too little has been done against the so-called Stop the Stealmovement, which gave Trump supporters, led by the former president, almost unlimited space to contest the election results.
Whistleblower Haugen believes Facebook has misled investors and the public about its role in the Capitol storming, but Facebook disputes this image to CNN. Haugen, who recently received support from eBay billionaire and Facebook critic Pierre Omidyar in her fight against her former employer, is said to have only shared documents that put the company in a bad light.
“Responsibility for the violence on January 6 rests with those who attacked the Capitol and those who encouraged these people,” a spokesperson told the news channel. A day after the Capitol storming, Facebook blocked Trump’s account on both Facebook and Instagram.
‘Facebook staff sounded the alarm well before Capitol storming’
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