Facebook told employees on Tuesday that it is making some of its internal online discussion groups private, in an effort to minimize leaks.
Many Facebook employees join online discussion groups on Workplace, an internal message board that employees use to communicate and collaborate. In Tuesday’s announcement, the company said it was working on several groups focused on platform safety and protecting elections, an area widely known as “integrity,” privacy. instead of being made public within the company, restricting who can see and participate in discussion topics.
The move comes after Frances Haugen, a former employee, leaked thousands of pages of internal documents to regulators, lawmakers and the media. The documents show that Facebook was aware of some of the harm it was causing. Haugen, a former member of Facebook’s civic misinformation group, filed a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission and testified to a Senate subcommittee this month.
“As everyone knows, we have seen an increase in the number of Integrity related leaks in recent months,” wrote a technical director in a notice reviewed by The New York Times. “These leaks do not represent the nuances and complexities involved in our work and are often taken out of context, resulting in our work being misjudged externally.”
Facebook was once known for an open culture that encouraged debate and transparency, but it’s become increasingly one-sided in the face of leaks on issues like malicious speech and misinformation. bias and facing employee unrest. In July, the communications team blocked comments on an internal forum used for company-wide announcements, writing: “ONE OF OUR REQUEST: PLEASE DON’T LEAVE”.
“Leaks make it harder 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.” , Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, said in a statement. Mr. Stone also said Facebook had been planning the change for months.
Tuesday’s announcement said Facebook plans to adopt several online discussion groups to weed out individuals whose work is not related to safety and security. The changes will occur in the “coming months” and “with the expectation that discussions on sensitive Integrity will take place in closed, curated forums in the future.”
In internal comments shared with The Times, some employees supported the move while others denounced the loss of transparency and cooperation. They called the change “backfire” and “disappointing,” with one saying it could lead to more leaks from disgruntled employees.
“I think every employee at the company should think and work with integrity as part of their day-to-day role, and we should work to foster a culture that is desirable. ,” wrote one Facebook employee. “Rejecting people dedicated to integrity harms both active collaborative efforts and reduces the culture’s expectations that integrity is everyone’s responsibility.”
Mike Isaac contribution report.