Many Facebook employees raised the alarm well before the Capitol storm on 6 January about the increase in potentially dangerous, incendiary reports on the platform following the US presidential election. Despite these reports, the company has long seen no reason to do anything against that message flow.
This is written by several American media based on thousands of pages of Facebook internal documents surrendered to the US regulator SEC by whistleblower Frances Haugen.
“Fire self fueled”
AP news agency and newspapers The New York Times and The Washington Post hold the documents. They write extensively about the discontent among Facebook employees before and around the Capitol storm.
“This is not a new problem,” said an anonymous employee on Facebook‘s internal messaging system – Workplace – on the day of the storming, said The Washington Post. “We have seen this behaviour of politicians like Trump and the management’s indecisive actions for years to say the least.” Another wrote, according to AP, “We‘ve fueled this fire for a very long time and we shouldn’t be surprised that it‘s getting out of control now.”
Right after the election, when Donald Trump made his first election fraud claims, an employee posted a message on Workplace on November 5, 2020 about a popular comment under a news story with a link that led to fake news.
“Not only do we do nothing against potentially incendiary misinformation about the elections in comments, but we also reinforce them and spread them further,” said in the internal report.
Lifted too fast
According to incendiary employees, Facebook has too quickly lifted the many measures the company had put in place to curb the spread of fake news around the US presidential election.
That was also the conclusion in an internal review of Facebook, according to the documents, stating that too little has been done against the so-called Stop the Steel movement, giving Trump supporters, led by the former president, almost unbridled the space for the contest election results.
Whistleblower Haugen believes Facebook has misled investors and the public about the role the company has played in the Capitol storm, but in front of CNN, Facebook is fighting this picture. Haugen, who was said to have received support from eBay billionaire and Facebook critic Pierre Omidyar recently in her fight against her former employer, is said to have only shared documents that put the company in a bad light.
“The responsibility for the violence on January 6 lies with those who attacked the Capitol and those who encouraged these people,” says a spokesperson to the news channel. A day after the Capitol Storm, Facebook blocked Trump’s account on both Facebook and Instagram.
Take a look back at the Capitol Storm here: