Facebook Fired an Employee Who Collected Evidence of Right-Wing Pages Getting Preferential Treatment

Craig Silverman and Ryan Mac, reporting for BuzzFeed News:

Individuals that spoke out about the apparent special treatment of right-wing pages have also faced consequences. In one case, a senior Facebook engineer collected multiple instances of conservative figures receiving unique help from Facebook employees, including those on the policy team, to remove fact-checks on their content. His July post was removed because it violated the company’s “respectful communication policy.” After the engineer’s post was removed, the related internal “tasks” he’d cited as examples of the alleged special treatment were made private and inaccessible to employees, according to a Workplace post from another employee. […]

The engineer joined the company in 2016 and most recently worked on Instagram. He left the company on Wednesday. One employee on an internal thread seen by BuzzFeed News said that they received permission from the engineer to say that the dismissal “was not voluntary.” […]

News of his firing caused some Facebook employees to say that they now fear speaking critically about the company in internal discussions. One person said they were deleting old posts and comments, while another said this was “hardly the first time the respectful workplace guidelines have been used to snipe a prominent critic of company policies/ethics.”

“[He] was a conscience of this company, and a tireless voice for us doing the right thing,” said another employee.

Having a conscience does seem like a mismatch for working at Facebook.

This is really an astonishing story, and it’s effectively buried a few hundred words into what’s really a separate but also alarming story about Facebook employees asking Zuckerberg what Facebook is going to do if Trump uses the platform to dispute the election results.

Friday, 7 August 2020