One employee ominously wrote: “History will not judge us kindly.” The New York Post reports that Facebook employees are criticizing CEO Mark Zuckerberg in leaked internal messages, blaming the CEO’s obsession with growth for a number of scandals that the company has faced in recent months. One staffer reportedly wrote on the day of the January 6th Capitol riots which were partly organized via Facebook: “History will not judge us kindly.” The consistent message throughout the messages is that the company’s overwhelmingly leftist staff feel the company hasn’t done enough to suppress and censor conservative voices. Facebook protesters ( Max Whittaker /Getty) Mark Zuckerberg deep in thought (Drew Angerer /Getty) As Breitbart News reported this week, Facebook has suppressed the traffic of Breitbart News posts by 20 percent using tools designed for that purpose. Breitbart News senior tech reporter Allum Bokhari wrote: The company introduced two tools after the 2016 election that disproportionately harmed conservative publishers.
The Journal highlights internal Facebook research showing that if both tools were removed, it would increase traffic to Breitbart News by 20 percent, the Washington Times by 18 percent, Western Journal by 16 percent, and the Epoch Times by 11 percent. Facebook eventually removed one of the tools while keeping the other — but it is unclear which of them had the most impact on traffic. According to the Wall Street Journal, one of Facebook’s researchers feared, “We could face significant backlash for having ‘experimented’ with distribution at the expense of conservative publishers.” The story also revealed that Breitbart News is relegated to a “second tier” of the platform’s News Tab, where it gets less exposure than its corporate establishment competitors. On top of this, Facebook is directly paying Breitbart News’s competitors, establishment media conglomerates including the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times — while offering no such compensation to Breitbart News. Another Facebook staffer wrote: “We’ve been fueling this fire for a long time and we shouldn’t be surprised it’s now out of control.” According to a report from the Atlantic, many employees spent months attempting to raise the alarm about what they believe are engagement-focused algorithms pushing users towards extreme and negative content but were ignored by higher-ups at the firm. One employee working on Facebook’s “Integrity” team complained in August of 2020 that proposed design changes that may limit users’ exposure to extreme content was being consistently sidelined in favor of any efforts that may increase user engagement.
The employee stated that Facebook was “willing to act only after things had spiraled into a dire state.” The employee added: “Personally, during the time that we hesitated, I’ve seen folks from my hometown go further and further down the rabbithole of QAnon and Covid anti-mask/anti-vax conspiracy on FB. It has been painful to observe.” Employees further alleged that Zuckerberg himself regularly intervened to alter decisions that may negatively affect user growth. Insiders also told the Washington Post that Zuckerberg caved to the Vietnam government’s censorship demands in 2020 in an effort to avoid losing an estimated $1 billion in annual revenue from the country. Ahead of a Vietnamese election in 2020, Zuckerberg reportedly decided to censor Facebook posts from anti-government pages as he argued that Facebook going offline in Vietnam would do more harm to free speech than actively censoring government critics. Between July and December of 2020 Facebook removed more than 2,200 posts by Vietnamese users compared to just 834 posts in the first six months of 2020. Read more at the New York Post here. Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address email@example.com.
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