Monday, October 25, 2021

Facebook makes internal forums private to stop leaks

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According to a new report, Facebook is making some of its internal online discussion groups private to stop information leakage.

Workplace, the corporate forum of the social media giant, will make its platform security and election protection groups private instead of public.

“As you probably know, we’ve seen an increase in the number of integrity-related leaks over the past few months,” a technical director wrote in the announcement The New York Times.

“These leaks are not representative of the nuances and complexities of our work and are often taken out of context, which means that our work is externally misrepresented.”

The statement alludes to former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, who was the source of a number of damning leaks that became known to the company about the company Wall Street Journal.

Haugen, who served as a product manager on Facebook’s civic disinformation team, has claimed that Facebook “chooses to optimize for its own interests, such as making more money,” rather than for the public good, and testified before a Senate committee, that their former employer is “tearing apart our societies”.

This was specifically related to a secret VIP list that allowed high profile Facebook users to break their rules and research that suggested Instagram made young girls with body image issues feel worse.

Facebook had apparently been planning these changes for months, according to spokesman Andy Stone – but the social media company has reported numerous whistleblowers, such as Sophie Zhang, who said she had “blood on her hands” after working for the company and died in documentation of potential criminal violations to a US law enforcement agency.

“Leaks make it difficult for our teams to work together, can put employees working on sensitive topics at external risk and lead to complex topics being misrepresented and misunderstood,” said Stone. Stone himself has been criticized for his reaction to the whistleblower’s allegations.

In response to the crackdown, some employees supported while others said the change was “counterproductive” and “discouraging” – and could encourage further leaks.

“I think every single employee in the company should think and work on integrity as part of their daily role, and we should work to foster a culture in which this is expected,” apparently one Facebook employee wrote.

“Isolating those who are committed to integrity will both harm active efforts to work together and reduce the cultural expectation that integrity is everyone’s responsibility.”

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