Facebook employees use farewell messages to criticise it for not fixing its 'net negative' influence on the world - report
- Some Facebook employees criticise the firm in "badge posts" upon their departure from the company.
- One of the first posts that criticised the company was written in 2016, Wired reported.
- The posts, exposed in the "Facebook Papers," show insiders were concerned about the firm's impact.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Some Facebook employees write "badge posts" when they leave the company as a means of farewell. Wired reports that some employees are using them to criticise the company and their perceived impact it has on the world.
The magazine - one of many that cited thousands of leaked documents dubbed the "Facebook Papers" on Monday - reported that while some employees speak accolades of Facebook via these internal farewell posts, others use them to scold the company for what they say is its wrongdoings.
The badge posts, as well as other details included in the reported documents, show more evidence that people inside Facebook were concerned about the potential harm the company was publicly accused of posing. And yet, when they raised questions to leadership, nothing was done, according to Wired.
A Facebook spokesperson told Insider that "at the heart of these stories is a premise which is false."
"Yes, we're a business and we make profit, but the idea that we do so at the expense of people's safety or wellbeing misunderstands where our own commercial interests lie," they said.
One employee, who left in December 2020, said they didn't think they'd ever get "a job as good as this one," but that they couldn't "in good conscience" stay ay Facebook.
"(1) I think Facebook is probably having a net negative influence on politics in Western countries ... (2) I don't think that leadership is involved in a good-faith effort to fix this ... (3) I don't think I can substantially improve things by staying," wrote one researcher, whose post was viewed by Wired.
They also said that Facebook conducted itself much worse than did its social media peers and made decisions "influenced by political considerations."
Another Whistleblower, Sophie Zhang, who has spoken to the press and recently testified before UK Parliament, also wrote a post when she left, saying she had "blood on her hands." Another employee wrote that they "have nothing but respect for the people working " in Integrity at Facebook, but "the truth is, I remain unsure that FB should exist."
One of the earliest instances of employee criticism via Facebook badge posts was in July 2016, according to Wired, when a security engineer said he was leaving out of concern about the firm's "corporate direction" and how its "pursuit of growth may negatively impact our ethics and mission statement."
"Plus, I am too tired to fight it," he wrote.
The badge posts are called so in reference to the ID badges that employees are issued when they take a job at Facebook, Wired reported.
Whistleblower Frances Haugen obtained thousands of internal Facebook documents and submitted them to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The material, now known as the Facebook Papers, was also shared with Congress in redacted form.
It's been a rough few weeks for Facebook, a period of turmoil that began when Haugen first shared internal documents with the Wall Street Journal, which published its Facebook Files series detailing the company's controversial business practices.
The paper reported that Facebook knew its Instagram platform was harming the mental health of teenagers, especially young girls, and that a 2018 tweak to its algorithm would promote divisive and sensationalistic content on its main Facebook app.
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