Facebook (FB) goes on the offensive ahead of what the company expects to be a series of news articles based on thousands of pages of leaked Facebook documents.
The social media giant launched through its Facebook Newsroom Twitter (TWTR) account through which Vice President of Communications John Pinette claimed that “more than 30 journalists are completing a coordinated series of articles based on thousands of pages of documents disclosed. We hear that in order to get the documents, outlets had to agree to the terms and a timeline set by the public relations team that worked on the previously leaked documents.
It’s worth pointing out that Facebook itself, along with other tech companies, regularly uses embargoes that force media outlets to agree not to post articles for a specified time frame.
This series of articles will be the second wave of negative press against Facebook. Earlier this month, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testified before Congress about documents she leaked to both the Wall Street Journal and “60 Minutes” that show Facebook is at aware of issues with the service, including its inability to deal with hate speech and human trafficking, as well as its impact on adolescent mental health.
The news also comes a day after Facebook Vice President of Integrity Guy Rosen posted a blog post refuting claims that Facebook doesn’t dig up hate speech. In the post, Rosen says the prevalence of this content on Facebook has dropped nearly 50% in the past three quarters.
However, documents produced by Haugen indicate that Facebook can only take action against 3% to 5% of hate on the platform and less than 1% of violence and incitement, despite being the best platform in the world to do it.
On Twitter, Pinette suggested that the leaked documents painted an unfair picture of the network giant. “An organized selection from millions of documents on Facebook can in no way be used to draw fair conclusions about us. Internally, we share the work in progress and discuss options, ”he wrote. “Not all suggestions stand up to the scrutiny we must apply to decisions affecting so many people.”
Haugen, meanwhile, is expected to testify before the UK Parliament on October 25 about the information she provided to Congress. Sophie zhang, a second whistleblower, testified before Parliament on October 18 and said she also wished to testify before Congress.
Facebook has repeatedly claimed that the information in the leaked documents is for internal use only and does not point to any specific deficiencies. But lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic are using the data to craft legislation to address what they see as Facebook’s myriad of trust issues.
The social network’s stance on the leaks runs counter to earlier controversies in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the lead in crafting a response. This time around, Facebook’s management team is doing the heavy lifting and aggressively asserting their own point of view.
This joins a September New York Times report that the company will be more assertive in the defense of its interests.
Facebook is also currently investigating an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission that seeks to split the company. The lawsuit, which was re-filed by the FTC after being initially dismissed, accuses Facebook of running a buyout or burial campaign to scavenge or crush smaller competitors.
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