‘The Facebook Papers’ Present Crisis for Mark Zuckerberg and FacebookNovember 2, 2021
Never has Facebook faced a threat as serious as the “The Facebook Papers.”
A group of 17 news groups in the country has been publishing stories under the title of “The Facebook Papers. ” All are supported by internal documents filled with disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The documents were provided to Congress from whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, much to the dismay of Zuckerberg and Facebook officials.
Some are calling this the biggest threat to Facebook since the social media giant was formed 17 years ago.
The documents provide information on some of the many ways that Facebook is used to promote violence and criminal activity, such as the January 6 attack on the US Capitol and human trafficking. Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, has said it is her opinion the company hurts children and weakens democracy in the country.
Facebook and Zuckerberg have responded to Haugen by minimizing her former role in the company and claiming she her allegations or mischaracterizations. Facebook makes money, as all companies do, but doesn’t take advantage of the safety of different groups of people in doing so.
“The Facebook Papers” goes beyond insurrection in Washington, D.C. One example is from a violent drug cartel in Mexico looking to recruit members, even though Facebook itself had identified the group as dangerous organization whose posts should not be allowed to remain on the site.
Other examples of potentially dangerous content – such as posts designed to encourage violence in Ethiopia – were not unknown to the company. Haugen claims one reason is that Facebook values profit above what is good for society, while in other cases, Facebook simply doesn’t have the staff to adequately properly monitor all inappropriate and dangerous content.
Facebook, however, points to the expenditure of $13 billion since 2016 to improve the safety of online posts. In addition, the company says there are 40,000 people with the responsibility of working on safety and security on the platform.
In the meantime, the company appears to be quickly losing trust — not only among some of its users and regulators, but internally, as well.
How will Facebook respond to this crisis is a critical question. Will Zuckerberg continue business as usual or will the company reach out to Haugen and regulators in a move of transparency to resolve a crisis?