- A former Facebook employee wrote a memo in which he revealed several amazing mistakes Facebook made in dealing effectively with political misinformation around the world. BuzzFeed News reported Monday.
- In the memo, data scientist Sophie Zhang claimed Facebook removed "10.5 million false reactions and fans from high-profile politicians in Brazil and the US in the 2018 election," according to BuzzFeed News.
- Zhang also claimed Facebook was mostly focused on the US and Western Europe, citing a manager's comment: "Most of the world outside the West was effectively the Wild West with [Zhang] being a part-time dictator."
- Facebook is gaining increasing criticism as it faces its biggest challenge to date, ahead of the 2020 US presidential election and dozen of competitions around the world.
- You can find more stories on the Business Insider homepage.
Former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang detailed several examples of the company's failure to effectively deal with political misinformation around the world in a memo received from BuzzFeed News.
"We removed 10.5 million false reactions and fans in the 2018 elections from high profile politicians in Brazil and the US – great politicians of all beliefs in Brazil and a number of lower-level politicians in the US," she wrote in the memo, according to BuzzFeed News.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the memo or the extent of the spurious conduct during the 2018 US election.
Zhang, who helped Facebook identify and deal with things like "wrong engagement" and "bots influencing elections" for nearly three years, revealed that Facebook does not have enough resources to cope with the scope, according to her LinkedIn profile The site to deal with the misinformation on the site and therefore focuses on certain parts of the world and types of content.
"There have been so many behavioral violations around the world that it was up to my personal judgment which cases should be further investigated," Zhang wrote, saying the company is more concerned with "priority regions like the US and Western Europe," BuzzFeed reported News.
However, Zhang's memo reportedly reported extensively on the efforts of government officials and malicious actors to influence elections in countries other than the US, such as Honduras, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, India, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil – although she said that Companies did not act just as aggressively in these cases.
Zhang also put more emphasis on fixing "spam" and issues that could be a PR headache for the company rather than ensuring the integrity of elections in smaller countries, according to BuzzFeed News, telling her that "human resources are limited." when you urged the company to do more about political misinformation.
The memo shows that Facebook continues to face massive challenges when it comes to dealing with misinformation, particularly on political and social issues, even as there is increasing criticism of its slow and inconsistent responses to recent events such as fatal shootings in Kenosha and false claims about US President Donald Trump's mail-in votes.