While Facebook has heralded improvements to its fight against disinformation in the United States, it has been slow to deal with fake accounts that have affected elections around the world, according to a post published by a former employee.
The employee, who worked on a Facebook team dedicated to rooting out so-called inauthentic activity on the service, said executives ignored or were slow to react to her repeated warnings about the problem.
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Facebook ignored blatant political manipulation around the world, claims former data scientist
A fired Facebook data scientist has written a 6,600-word memo condemning the company for ignoring evidence the platform was wielded to sway public opinion and manipulate elections around the world, according to a report from BuzzFeed News, which obtained a copy of the memo. The data scientist, Sophie Zhang, was fired earlier this month and posted the memo on her final day, the report reads.
Zhang implies she was fired after bringing her concerns to upper management and being told to stop focusing on issues beyond the scope of her role, which involved analyzing the platform to identity “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Facebook’s phrase for bot networks and other malicious activity with ulterior motives like influencing election outcomes and promoting or undermining various political candidates and controversial topics. The memo indicates she also turned down a $64,000 severance package because it involved signing a non-disparagement agreement that would have restricted her ability to speak publicly about the company.