Two-dozen outlets prepare to print new docs from Frances Haugen

Scandal-hit Facebook’s crisis frontman Nick Clegg warns staff to expect ‘MORE bad headlines in the coming days’ as two-dozen outlets begin to print fresh revelations from whistleblower Frances Haugen

  • Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg wrote in a Saturday memo that the company needs to prepare itself for another wave of negative media coverage
  • ‘We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I’m afraid,’ he wrote in an emailed memo
  • The warning comes as a group of roughly two-dozen news outlets broke an embargo on documents leaked by former Facebook staffer Frances Haugen 
  • Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, left the company with tens of thousands of copied internal documents
  • Documents shown to congress on October 5 show Facebook knew its platform harmed teen girls and played a role in the January 6 insurrection on the Capitol
  • On Friday, after documents that were part of a ‘set’ released to news outlets were released ahead of schedule by the WSJ, the rest of the outlets followed suit 
  • Reporters obtained the documents on October 10; now, they will continue to roll out over the coming weeks
  •  ‘But above all else,’ Clegg wrote to Facebook staffers, according to Axios , ‘We should keep our heads held high and do the work we came here to do’

Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg told staffers in an memo on Saturday to ‘steel [themselves] for more bad headlines in the coming days’ as a cadre of news outlets begin to print fresh claims from whistleblower Frances Haugen.  

Clegg, who was previously the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister, warned in the email that new coverage may contain ‘mischaracterizations of our research, our motives and where our priorities lie,’ and told employees to ‘listen and learn from criticism when it is fair, and push back strongly when its not.’

‘But above all else,’ he wrote to Facebook staffers, according to Axios, ‘We should keep our heads held high and do the work we came here to do.’ 

He spoke as two dozen outlets which obtained fresh revelations from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen broke an embargo set to expire Monday, and began printing fresh revelations. 

Those included the social network struggling to work out exactly how many active users it has, and the fact that Facebook is so afraid of being seen to have a liberal bias that it ‘bends over backwards’ to avoid imposing its own rules on conservative publishers. 

Nick Clegg (pictured, Facebook’s VP of Global Affairs who was previously the UK’s Deputy Prime Minister, warned in the email that new coverage may contain ‘mischaracterizations of our research, our motives and where our priorities lie,’ and told employees to ‘listen and learn from criticism when it is fair, and push back strongly when its not’

Facebook was also found to have lifted its rules aimed at suppressing ‘misinformation’ too soon after the 2020 presidential election, with that move blamed for helping stoke the January 6 riots as Donald Trump supporters flooded its network with propaganda.  

Clegg went on to remind Facebook staff that the company has made investments toward safety and security, including efforts to boost voting and vaccinations rates. 

‘The truth is we’ve invested $13 billion and have over 40,000 people to do one job: keep people safe on Facebook,’ he wrote.

Facebook services were used to spread religious hatred in India and may have inflamed 2020 riots in Delhi that left 53 dead, internal documents leaked by whistleblower Frances Haugen claim 

Internal Facebook documents showed that while the company enjoyed a boom of popularity in India in 2019, researchers were warning that the company’s services were filled with religious hate speech between the nation’s Hindu and Muslim populations. 

That year, researchers monitored a test account from February to March that quickly became awash with bigotry, misinformation and celebrations of violence that one report would eventually link to the deadly February 2020 religious riots in Delhi that killed 53 people, The Washington Post reports.  

‘The test user’s News Feed has become a near constant barrage of polarizing nationalist content, misinformation, and violence and gore,’ one Facebook researcher wrote in the report.

‘I’ve seen more images of dead people in the past three weeks than I’ve seen in my entire life total.’  

Yet the researcher’s recommendations to fix the problems were allegedly ignored due to ‘political sensitivities,’ due to their ties with India’s ruling party.

The internal documents were a part of a large cache of files collected and released by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. 

Facebook enjoys its biggest market in India with more than 300 million users and its WhatsApp services has more than 400 million users. 

Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, left the company with tens of thousands of confidential documents that she copied in secret. 

On October 5, she testified before congress, calling for more transparency surrounding the company’s morally questionable methods that keep users scrolling, and said executives have ‘no desire’ to run the company in a way that protects the public from the consequences of harmful content.  

Haugen testified, and backed up with documents, that Facebook was acutely aware of its negative effect on teen girls’ body images and its platform’s role in human trafficking, and that the platform had a list of elite users that weren’t governed by the same posting rules that applied to other users. 

Since, Facebook has announced plans to rename its parent company as the series of scandals has left its reputation bruised: Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg is set to reveal the parent company’s new name at its annual Connect conference on October 28, but it could well be leaked before then. 

The eponymous social media platform will still be called Facebook, but the parent company – which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp – will have a new monicker.  

Roughly two-dozen news outlets – including the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, CBS News, USA Today, Financial Times, The Atlantic, Fox Business, NPR, Bloomberg, Politico and Wired – agreed to hold a fresh batch of documents released by Haugen until Monday.

But that fell apart on Friday, with revelations subsequently pouring forth. 

The Wall Street Journal, which was not part of the agreement, added some of the new revelations to its ‘The Facebook Files’ series, which began on October 1.  

The agreement, called the ‘Facebook Consortium,’ fell apart on Friday when The Wall Street Journal reported on new documents.

They showed Facebook’s role in the January 6 riot at the Capitol, which were part of a leaked set given to the conglomerate on October 10. 

New York Times reporter Sheera Frankel confirmed via Twitter on Friday that the embargo lifted after the Wall Street Journal released the documents ahead of schedule.  

Whistleblower Frances Haugen (pictured) , a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, left the company with tens of thousands of confidential documents that she copied in secret

New York Times reporter Sheera Frankel confirmed via Twitter on Friday that the embargo lifted after the Wall Street Journal released the documents ahead of schedule

Before Friday, the participating newsrooms agreed via Slack on a set of terms for releasing the documents, which they would release at the same time on Monday, and said they would not approach the company for comment until a certain agreed-upon time after publication.

Earlier, in hopes of ascertaining the content of the leaked documents, Facebook’s VP of communications John Pinette sent a Tweet directed at news organizations: 

‘To those news organizations who would like to move beyond an orchestrated “gotcha” campaign, we are ready to engage on the substance,’ he wrote on October 18. 

Earlier, in hopes of ascertaining the content of the leaked documents, Facebook’s VP of communications John Pinette sent a Tweet directed at news organizations:

‘To those news organizations who would like to move beyond an orchestrated “gotcha” campaign, we are ready to engage on the substance,’ he wrote on October 18

Facebook never did get the leaked new documents, two sources close to the situation told Axios

Facebook never did get the leaked new documents, two sources close to the situation told Axios.  

A number of news outlets, Axios reported, managed to get documents from members of Congress to avoid facing repercussions for sharing information that was illegally obtained. 

Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony to Congress

During a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on October 5, Whistleblower Frances Haugen called for transparency about how Facebook entices its users to keep scrolling on its apps, and the harmful effect it can have on users.

‘As long as Facebook is operating in the shadows, hiding its research from public scrutiny, it is unaccountable,’ said Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team. She left the nearly $1 trillion company with tens of thousands of confidential documents.

‘The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed,’ Haugen said.

Haugen revealed she was the person who provided documents used in a Wall Street Journal and a Senate hearing on Instagram’s harm to teenage girls. She compared the social media services to addictive substances like tobacco and opioids.

Before the hearing, she appeared on CBS television program ’60 Minutes,’ revealing her identity as the whistleblower who provided the documents.

‘There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,’ she said during the interview. ‘And Facebook over and over again chose to optimize for its own interests like making more money.’

Haugen, who previously worked at Google and Pinterest, said Facebook has lied to the public about the progress it made to clamp down on hate speech and misinformation on its platform.

She added that Facebook was used to help organize the Capitol riot on January 6, after the company turned off safety systems following the U.S. presidential elections.

While she believed no one at Facebook was ‘malevolent,’ she said the company had misaligned incentives.

In response to Haugen’s bombshell comments, a Facebook executive accused her of stealing company documents and claimed she is ‘not an expert’ on the company’s content algorithms.

Facebook Vice President of Content Policy Monika Bickert spoke out in an interview with Fox News on, slamming Haugen a day after she testified to Congress.

Bickert said that Haugen ‘mischaracterized’ the internal studies regarding the harmful impacts of content on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, which she presented to to Congress.

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