The social-media giant Facebook(FB) neglected (or) has been slow to act on proof that fraud accounts on its platform have engaged in political manipulation world-wide, an explosive 6,600-word memo by a just recently fired staff read.
The memo, written by a previous statistics scientist in Facebook(FB) Sophie Zhang, is filled with concrete examples of heads of govt & political parties in Azerbaijan & Honduras utilizing fraud accounts (or) misrepresenting to sway people opinion. In nations involving India(In), Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, & Ecuador, she identified proof of coordinated campaigns of varying sizes to boost (or) hinder political students (or) outcomes, although she didn’t always conclude who has been behind them.
‘Govts utilized our platform to mislead their own own citizenry’
“Within the 3 yrs. I’ve spent in Facebook(FB), I’ve identified several blatant attempts by foreign domestic govts to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own own citizenry, & caused Intl. information on several occasions,” wrote Zhang in her memo.
The memo is a damning account(a/c) of Facebook(FB)’s failures. It’s the post of the firm abdicating responsibility for malign operations on its platform that can impact the political fate of countries outdoor the United States (or) Western Europe. It’s also the post of a junior staff wielding exceptional moderation powers that affected millions of citizens without any real institutional help, & the personal torment that followed.
“I really know that I’ve blood on my hands by as of now,” Zhang added further.
Fraud accounts & inauthentic operations
In Honduras, Zhang wrote regarding a coordinated campaign ‘that utilized large number of inauthentic assets to boost President Juan Orlando Hernandez on a massive scale’ to mislead Honduran citizens. 2 weeks after Facebook(FB) taken action over the perpetrators in Jul, they repatriated, leading to a game of ‘whack-a-mole’ between Zhang & the operatives behind the fraud accounts, that are still active.
In Azerbaijan, Zhang discovered the ruling political party “used large number of inauthentic assets… to harass the opposition en masse.” Facebook(FB) started looking into the problem a yr. after Zhang recorded it. The inquiry is ongoing. Zhang also mentioned that she & her colleagues eliminated up to“10.five mln fraud responses & fans from high-profile politicians in Brazil & the US within the 2018 elections.”
In Bolivia & Ecuador too, she’d identified ‘inauthentic activity supporting the opposition presidential candidate in 2019’ & chose not to prioritize it because of her workload.
Zhang also uncovered problems in India(In), Facebook(FB)’s highest market, within the lead as many as the regional Delhi(DL) elections in Feb 2020. “I performed using sickness to take (2) down a politically-sophisticated network of over a thousand stars functioning to influence the election,” she wrote.
Zhang has been fired this mo & published her memo on her last day, even after providing to stay on using the election as an unpaid volunteer. In her goodbye, she encouraged her colleagues to remain in Facebook(FB) & to fix the firm from in.
“However you don’t – & shouldn’t – want to accomplish it alone,” she wrote. “Locate remaining who distribute your convictions & values to work (5) on it together. Facebook(FB) is too big of a project for any 1 human to fix.”