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Former Facebook employee demonstrates inability to stop misinformation



In the months leading up to the local elections in India in February 2020, Zhang worked to dismantle a “politically sophisticated network of more than a thousand actors working to influence the elections”. In the past few months, Facebook has removed 672,000 “fake, low-quality accounts” attempted to tamper with COVID-19-related information on the Spanish Ministry of Health and US sites. Zhang also revealed in her memo that the company removed 10.5 million fake reactions and fans from high profile political sites in Brazil and the US during the 201

8 election.

But perhaps the most haunting part of the memo was her admission that she felt “bloody” [her] Hands ”because certain spurious activities on the site were not prioritized. For example, in 2019 she found spurious activity in support of the opposition presidential candidate in Bolivia, but chose not to act immediately. Months later, President Evo Morales resigned and mass protests resulted in dozens of deaths. She wrote:

“I personally made decisions that affected unsupervised national presidents and took steps to prevail against so many prominent politicians around the world that I lost the count …

I have made countless decisions along these lines – from Iraq to Indonesia, from Italy to El Salvador. Individually, the impact has likely been small in each case, but the world is a huge place. Although I made the best decision I could make based on the knowledge available at the time, it was ultimately the one who made the decision not to push any more, or to continue prioritizing in any case, and I know that I’ve got blood now got my hands. ”

Zhang made it clear that she doesn’t believe that Facebook is run by malicious people with an agenda. It’s just that the senior ones tend to make decisions that are PR motivated and focus on issues in the US and the West. A middle-class employee like her ended up having to make big decisions about political issues outside of these regions that affected her health.

When she asked the company for assistance in stopping malicious politics and election-related activities, she was reportedly told that “human resources are limited” and threatened with fire if she continued to engage in civilian activities Work focused. Also, she usually had to post on the Facebook employee forum to address her concerns as going through the correct channels wasn’t working. BuzzFeed News According to Zhang, Zhang was fired this month and turned down a severance package of $ 64,000 to write the memo and send it to her former colleagues.

In response to Zhang’s memo, spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois said BuzzFeed News in a statement:

“Working with leading experts, we have built specialized teams to prevent bad actors from misusing our systems. This removed more than 100 networks for coordinated spurious behavior. It is very dedicated work that these teams do full-time. Combating coordinated spurious behavior is our priority, but we also address the problems of spam and false engagement. We carefully investigate any issue, including those raised by Ms. Zhang, before taking action or publicly making claims as a company. “


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