Over the previous month, Facebook was tongue lashed by its users including public officials for allowing politicians to run just about any ads without being checked. The latest set of people to criticise the social media giant is its own employees. More than 250 Facebook employees sent a letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and top Facebook authorities in which they described Facebook’s approach as a threat to what the company stands for.
A copy of the letter was obtained by The New York Times and it the workers say that enabling fake news to run could expand doubt in Facebook in addition to the reputational damage that the company has suffered since the 2016 elections. The letter didn’t stop at criticism but the employees went ahead to proffer six ways they think the situation can be remedies namely holding political ads to the same standard as other ads and restricting ads from questionable sources among others.
Part of the letter reads;
“Misinformation affects us all. Our current policies on fact checking people in political office, or those running for office, are a threat to what FB stands for. We strongly object to this policy as it stands. It doesn’t protect voices, but instead allows politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy.”
Facebook is not the only tech giant to have its employees speak out on political matters. Google employees staged a protest about the internet giant’s policies towards political subjects but Google later updated those guidelines to say that employees shouldn’t disrupt the workday over political matters. The move was largely criticised and then in another statement, Google clarified its stand on such protests by saying that employees indeed have a right to protest and air the opinions on political matters. Amazon workers staged a similar walkout over climate change. This is not new but the difference between these other companies and Facebook is that Google and Amazon were not really under government regulators scrutiny at the time.
Facebook has been accused of many thing and chief among them is that its puts revenue above principles.
In a comment provided to Engadget, Facebook VP of Corporate Communications Bertie Thomson said:
“Facebook’s culture is built on openness so we appreciate our employees voicing their thoughts on this important topic. We remain committed to not censoring political speech, and will continue exploring additional steps we can take to bring increased transparency to political ads.”