Leaked memo excoriates Facebook’s ‘slapdash and haphazard’ response to global political manipulation – ClearTips
A former facebook The data scientist dropped a detailed, damaging memo in his last day, describing the social network as an arbitrary, slow and generally inadequate response to fake accounts and activity affecting worldwide politics. Describes as.
Buzzfeed News acquired the full memorandum and published excerpts in this report, which are fully worth reading.
Zhang was reportedly fired earlier in September as she describes it, a response to disagreements with management about the company’s priorities and widespread manipulation.
In a memorandum of 6,600 words, Zhang describes a system where the focus is too much on simple spam – which is certainly a major problem for the platform – while “coordinated inhumane behavior” (CIB) affects elections. Trying is not awarded. Priority or resource. Unless it is politically expedient, for example if a botnet needs to be rolled before testimony in Congress or pressure from the press.
As noted in the memo reported by BuzzFeed News:
It is an open secret within the civic integrity space that Facebook’s short-term decisions are largely driven by PR and the ability to pay negative attention … that’s why I’ve seen increased priorities when others threaten to go to the press Start giving, and why I was informed by a leader of my organization that my civic work was not effective under the argument that if the problems were worthwhile they would attract attention, become a press fire and put the company on space Assuring you to pay more attention.
Overall, my organization’s focus – and most of Facebook’s – was largely on problems, an approach that fixed us on spam. The civilian aspect was discounted because of its small volume, its disproportionate influence was ignored.
I have asked Facebook for comment on the memo, which includes the following specific claims allegedly made by Zhang:
- A few weeks after Facebook attempted to stop it, there was massive political manipulation in Honduras.
- His report of coordinated manipulation operations in Azerbaijan was not investigated until a year later.
- More than 10 million fake responses and accounts were removed from the US and Brazil 2018 elections and were never disclosed.
- A major political influence campaign was not reported in Delhi, India this February
- Some 672,000 accounts were removed from misinformation campaigns related to COVID in Spain and the United States, never disclosed.
- Whether to pursue misinformation campaigns is often left to mid-level employees such as Zhang, who claimed they had “no oversight”
- Zhang’s push to devote more resources to the problems of the civic platform prompts him to be sacked
Guy Rosen, Facebook’s VP of Integrity, attempts to play down the memo Tweet, Saying that Zhang was describing a “fake choice”: “Like any team in industry or government, we prioritize preventing the most urgent and harmful threats globally. Fake choice is not one of them, “He wrote. Certainly what Zhang describes is fake engagement, but far from it all, and at any rate what is the issue with Facebook’s memorandum in specifying priority.
The memo explicitly states that many people doubt that this is the case all along: that Facebook “presents an image of strength and potential … but the reality is that many of our actions are slaps and horrific accidents.” Huh.” Not only that, but that Facebook’s efforts to deal with such things have been photographed by the company itself and not, it seems, in any way an absolute or accurate way.
This post will be updated if we receive any concrete comments from Facebook. (This has been updated with Rosen’s tweet.)