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Facebook reportedly limits access to some internal message boards

Facebook is reportedly limiting who can view and participate in some internal “Integrity” discussion boards.

Sarah Tew / CNET

Facebook is reportedly trying to reduce insider leaks by making some of its internal online discussion groups private rather than public. Facebook told employees Tuesday that it is limit who can see and participate in some “integrity” groups focused on platform security and election protection, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

The move comes after Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee turned whistleblower, disclosed thousands of documents and internal communications showing Facebook was aware of the dangers of its products, but publicly downplayed these effects. So far, lawmakers from across the political spectrum have responded with renewed interest in holding Facebook to account.

Last week, Haugen appeared before a US Senate subcommittee and argued that Facebook’s products “harm children, fuel division and weaken our democracy.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticized Haugen’s testimony, saying that it presented a “false image” of the social network.

“As you probably all know, we’ve seen an increase in the number of integrity-related leaks in recent months,” wrote an engineering director in the ad, which was reviewed by the 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 incorrectly characterized externally.”

Tuesday’s announcement indicated that some of the discussion groups will be revised to remove people whose work is not related to security. The Facebook announcement said the changes are expected to occur in “the next few months” and “with the expectation that sensitive discussions on integrity will occur in closed and select forums in the future,” the Times reported.

Facebook appeared to defend the measure on Wednesday, saying the information leaks hurt the company’s work.

“The leaks lower the effectiveness, efficiency and morale of teams that work every day to address the challenges of operating a platform for billions of people,” Facebook spokeswoman Tracy Clayton said in a release. “They can also put employees working on sensitive issues externally at risk and lead to complex issues being misrepresented and misinterpreted.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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