A hot potato: Facebook executives don’t like that a significant number of recent leaks have exposed the company’s activities. Various controversies have put the social platform in a negative light. Most of the information comes from documents that hit newsrooms and from multiple whistleblowers who go public with damaging allegations of potentially illegal activity.
Facebook is probably one of the most notorious companies when it comes to respecting people’s privacy. There are many examples that show the company’s controversial stance, including Cambridge Analytica, WhatsApp’s forced data sharing, and its efforts to spy on encrypted data without breaking encryption.
Ironically, recent internal leaks, primarily from a whistleblower, have the social media giant closing the hatches. Now, Facebook is making efforts to contain the leaks by making particularly “sensitive” internal groups private. This change in domestic policy has already leaked to the press, adding to the irony of the situation.
The New York Times notes that before whistleblower Frances Haugen spoke about Facebook’s controversial policies and issues, she had a relatively open work culture. The employees were encouraged to share your ideas on various matters involving the company. This laid-back atmosphere is how Haugen allegedly obtained documents, including internal research on the mental effects of social media on teens, policies that allow “VIPs” to break the rules, and other sensitive topics.
I have provided detailed documentation on possible criminal offenses to a US law enforcement agency, I understand that the investigation is still ongoing.
I just didn’t choose to spread it on the covers.
Why does that make me less of a whistleblower? https://t.co/tizQwetrsN
– Sophie Zhang （张学 菲） (@szhang_ds) October 10, 2021
It’s worth noting that a former Facebook data scientist came out earlier this week saying that she had filed a criminal complaint against the company with the SEC. Previously, he leaked information about how Facebook handles misinformation.
Much of this information was easily shared by employees and executives on Facebook’s internal messaging platform “Workplace.” The company is now closing access to specific groups within Workplace and removing employees from them “whose work is not related to security.”
“As you probably all know, we have seen an increase in the number of integrity-related breaches in recent months,” the company informed employees in a memo obtained by The NY Times. “These leaks are not representative of the nuances and complexities involved in our work and are often taken out of context, leading to our work being externally characterized. Discussions on sensitive integrity will take place in select, closed forums. in the future”.
Facebook is no stranger to regulatory investigations. The company was the subject of a privacy investigation by the Federal Trade Commission in 2018 that resulted in a $ 5 billion fine. The recent leak of an internal mental health investigation led Facebook to put an “Instagram for kids” app on hold, prompting Congress to demand that the project be dropped entirely. Congress then ordered Facebook and Instagram executives to testify on the matter.