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Facebook reportedly tried to smear the reputation of its whistleblower among politicians

A sizzling potato: While Facebook (or Meta, because it’s now identified) might need thought 2018, the 12 months of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, would ceaselessly stay its worst-ever 12 months, 2021 has taken that undesirable title—and it’s not over but. The firm is now dealing with accusations that it tried to smear the identify of its former employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen among Washington politicians.

Haugen leaked inner paperwork earlier this 12 months that confirmed Facebook is aware of simply how dangerous its social media platforms are to society, together with the determinantal results Instagram can have on teenage women’ psychological well being.

Haugen additionally revealed that alterations to Facebook’s algorithms turned off some safeguards designed to combat the unfold of misinformation and should have contributed to the Capitol riots. She additionally mentioned that the firm ranks completely different international locations so as of significance when it comes to content material moderation. The fallout led to Facebook briefly suspending plans for its Instagram for Kids app and Congress summoning executives to a number of hearings.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s Washington-based lobbyists and public relations employees went on the offensive towards Haugen following her look on CBS’ 60 Minutes present. The crew allegedly warned Democrats that Republicans would use Haugen’s leaks to slam the firm’s determination to ban posts supporting Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, which it has since reversed.

Republicans, in the meantime, have been advised that Haugen was a Democratic activist who wished to enhance President Biden’s administration. Her PR agency being run by former President Obama staffers was put ahead as proof of this declare.

Members of each events who spoke to the paper mentioned the calls have been an try to forestall lawmakers from uniting towards Facebook/Meta. But Haugen was invited to testify in entrance of Congress, main to a bipartisan group of lawmakers engaged on stricter laws for social media corporations.

Additionally, the Journal writes that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has advised employees not to apologize for Facebook’s analysis, which it calls “mischaracterized.” Instagram’s head of public coverage, Karina Newton, wrote that the damning experiences focus “on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light.”

Earlier this month, a survey noticed Facebook/Meta voted the worst firm of 2021 by a big margin, taking 50% extra votes than second-place Alibaba in a consequence that stunned completely no person.

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