Important piece by @CraigSilverman & @RMac18. Facebook’s decisions on far-right content are political, not some grand defense of free speech or democracy. I’ve tried to point this out in pieces about my time working on election integrity at FB. (Thread)…
Facebook hired me in 2018 to head a new elections integrity team for ads. I put protecting democracy first, not political preservation. Sharing below pieces not to pat myself on the back, but to show how efforts failed because, as Buzzfeed shows, there was no political will. 2/
In my 1st piece after leaving Facebook, I intentionally wrote about asking my team to prove if we had an anti-conservative bias (we didn’t) as a subtle way of pointing to that issue. I was testing the waters but was much more explicit in future pieces. 3/…
Wrote next piece after Zuck refused to fact check politicians. On policy team’s influence, I wrote “I repeatedly saw passionate and thoughtful work in my own group not make it past the few voices who ultimately decided the company’s overall direction”. 4/…
Next, I wrote about our (rejected) attempt to enforce voter suppression policy in political ads. Wrote “if political considerations factor into Facebook’s decision-making about how to enforce its own policies, then the policy itself carries no weight.” 5/…
Ended my @TEDtalk about how Facebook is helping radicalize people, with “your policies and your business practices are harming people and democracy.” The word “policies” was 100% intentional. They made political choices, to the detriment of democracy. 6/…
I’m explicit here. On violating ads, we’d “get an answer from our people in Washington that I’d call “both sides-ism”–there are bad people on both sides. We would only get that answer when that piece of content seemed to be coming from the far right.” 7/…
And: “Zuckerberg didn’t choose to block Trump...until after the U.S. Congress certified Joe Biden...Given that timing, this decision looks more like an attempt to cozy up to power than a pivot towards a more responsible stewardship of our democracy.” 8/…
Why it matters? Zuck’s decision “set off a cascading effect...which delayed the company’s efforts to remove right wing militant organizations such as the Oath Keepers, which were involved in the Jan. 6 insurrection.” As I said in above HBR piece: Facebook leaders are complicit.9/
On a personal note, @BuzzFeed piece helps me make sense of my Facebook experience & why I was set up to fail from day 1. Gaslighting was intense and led to self-doubt. I appreciate that it helps confirm I wasn’t crazy. FB did prioritize power+profit over protecting democracy. 10/
Many have been saying this much longer than I. And many have done deeper research to prove it. I’m only speaking to what I experienced when trying to protect integrity of elections, which I was hired (but never empowered) to do. Facebook leaders must be held accountable. END 12/

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More from @YaelEisenstat

6 Aug 20
So much to unpack here, (a thread): 1/ Facebook is being used by our current President to undermine trust in the electoral process, and they continue to allow it to happen, unchecked. And their own employees are speaking up about the real dangers to our democracy. Bravo to them.
2/ Election results could take weeks, so we are in for a very dangerous period after Nov 3. How will FB react if Trump+his allies claim the results are rigged or lie about the results? If they refuse to fact check him now, why should we believe they will react differently then?
3/ "a senior engineer collected internal evidence that showed FB was giving preferential treatment to prominent conservative accounts to help them remove fact-checks... (FB) responded by removing his post... the engineer was fired." If true, this is extremely disturbing.
Read 5 tweets
25 Sep 19
A few thoughts on the #WhistleblowerComplaint, from my former #CIA and #NationalSecurity lens, and having served three Presidents, both Democrat and Republican, (without any comment on this #POTUS, the actual allegations against him, or moves on #impeachment) :
1/Being a #Whistleblower in the Intel Community is never easy, & it almost certainly will affect your future. But we swear an oath to “support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic”, & all Americans should be thankful to those who uphold that oath.
2/Deciding that threat comes from within and merits possibly destroying your own career and personal life to fulfill your oath to the #Constitution has to be the most difficult predicament an Intel Officer will ever face. The #whistleblower never personally wins.
Read 6 tweets

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