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Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has been inundated with a new wave of criticism. Remarkably, a large part of this comes from the company itself.
Two former employees, Frances Hogan and Sophie Zhang, who have been renamed Whistleblowers, told harrowing stories about their time at the company before Congress. Other insiders have been cited as sources in books describing the disturbances and alleged misconduct.
Then there’s the massive amount of documentation that Haugen has shared. These seem to indicate that a group of employees are dissatisfied. They may disagree with the way the Meta platforms deal with misinformation, divisions, and other things that harm the real world. They say their concerns have been pushed aside by a focus on profit and growth.
Stories like Haugen and Zhang together raise the question: How many employees are there at Zuckerberg’s company?
Haugen believes she is not alone. It stresses the importance of monitoring how Meta operates and encourages more of the company’s 58,000 employees to pay attention.
“If people hate Facebook more because of what it did, then it failed,” she told the Wall Street Journal in October. “I believe in truth and reconciliation, we have to acknowledge reality. The first step is documentation.”
We’re starting to feel like we’re part of a cover
Zhang said she had asked the company’s vice president for integrity to take more security measures outside the United States to prevent political manipulation. According to her, she was then told that the available resources are limited. Later in 2020, she was fired from her job due to “poor performance”.
Thanks to the leaked documents, there is now more evidence of dissatisfaction among Meta employees. For example, employees posted messages on internal bulletin boards stating that they disagree with the fact that Facebook quietly allows 5.8 million important people, such as politicians and celebrities, to circumvent certain rules on its platform.
“This kind of special treatment always made me feel uncomfortable,” one employee wrote, according to the leaked documents.
Other contributors worried that the change to the algorithm would reveal political divisions and often controversial posts. The change was made in 2018 to encourage user participation.
Company representatives continue to emphasize that the documentation does not paint a complete picture. Facebook will make investments in business development, internal research, and efforts to reduce harm.
But the evidence does not stop at the mountain of documents.
Take, for example, the book “The Ugly Truth” by New York Times journalists Cecilia Kang and Shera Frankel. The authors said they spoke to 400 sources on Facebook, including current and former CEOs, investors, employees, as well as their friends and family.
In the book, the authors note that many of the employees they spoke to are still at the company and “trying to turn things around from the inside out.”
Some of those sources said that executives asked employees to remove all signals of Russian hacking surrounding the 2016 presidential election from a 2017 internal report on security vulnerabilities. One employee said they were “starting to feel like we were part of a cover,” according to the book.
It’s Zuck’s world: we live in it
Responsibility for most of the company’s decisions rests with one person: Mark Zuckerberg.
Practically no investor proposal or board proposal is passed without its approval.
The leaked documents did not directly identify Zuckerberg as the reason many of his improvement proposals or solutions failed. However, that doesn’t stop Haugen from hinting at it.
“No one is currently holding Mark but him,” she told Congress. “The responsibility ends with Mark.”
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