A disgruntled employee who was fired for poor performance released a long memo in September 2020 blasting Facebook for ignoring political manipulation by foreign entities on the platform, allegations which have been embraced by Leftist outlets as alleged evidence of Facebook’s culpability when it comes to unfavorable political victories — such as Trump’s election win in 2016.
Excerpts of the memo were published in a long profile by The Guardian on Monday titled, “The Facebook loophole: How Facebook let fake engagement distort global politics: a whistleblower’s account.”
“Officially, I’m a low-level [data scientist] who’s being fired today for poor performance,” the 2020 memo began, according to Buzzfeed News. “In practice, in the 2.5 years I’ve spent at Facebook, I’ve … found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry, and caused international news on multiple occasions,” wrote Sophie Zhang in an internal Facebook post for outgoing employees known as a “badge post.”
“Over the course of 7,800 scathing words, Zhang outlined Facebook’s failure to combat political manipulation campaigns akin to what Russia had done in the 2016 US election,” reported The Guardian. Zhang then said that Facebook “didn’t care enough to stop them,” and that “I know that I have blood on my hands by now.”
On Monday, The Guardian interviewed Zhang, with the former Facebook employee speaking as a supposed “whistleblower.”
“Now, with the US election over and a new president inaugurated, Zhang is coming forward to tell the whole story on the record,” wrote The Guardian.
“What we have seen is that multiple national presidents believe that this activity is sufficiently valuable for their autocratic ambitions that they feel the need to do it so blatantly that they aren’t even bothering to hide,” Zhang said.
According to The Guardian report, Zhang argued that “Facebook is allowing its self-interest to interfere with its responsibility to protect democracy, and that the public and regulators need to know what is happening to provide oversight.”
“The whole point of inauthentic activity is not to be found,” Zhang said. “You can’t fix something unless you know that it exists.”
A Facebook spokesperson rejected Zhang’s claims, saying, “We fundamentally disagree with Ms. Zhang’s characterization of our priorities and efforts to root out abuse on our platform. We aggressively go after abuse around the world and have specialized teams focused on this work. As a result, we’ve taken down more than 100 networks of coordinated inauthentic behavior. Around half of them were domestic networks that operated in countries around the world, including those in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and in the Asia Pacific region. Combatting coordinated inauthentic behavior is our priority. We’re also addressing the problems of spam and fake engagement. We investigate each issue before taking action or making public claims about them.”
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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