It does not take a psychologist to understand why Facebook is not good for people.

The site that started out as a fun way to connect with others through cute photos and sharing family stories of every day life has turned into a means used to make people feel back about themselves and other shady activities.

If people had continued to use it as was intended and if Facebook executives had not gotten so greedy, its reputation would not be in the toilet now.

It has been a while since we have read news stories about leaked documents.

Seventeen United States news organizations recently announced they had received leaked internal documents which were obtained by a former Facebook employee.

Those documents are now being labeled, the ‘Facebook Pages.” Sounds like secret documents to me, otherwise, why name them.

According to reports, these organizations concluded that Facebook is losing it ‘Midas touch on the public.’

Their contention is Facebook is suffering from a plethora of issues that include fading popularity with teens, inability to counter hate speech and unbalanced treatment of politicians.

Internal documents reveal that employees had continuous debates over whether Facebook had done enough to counter hate speech and misinformation, especially regarding the results of the 2020 election and the January 6 Capitol attack.

Some employees apparently wanted the social media giant not to exempt certain politicians from its moderation rules.

Claims that Facebook lacked the proper language interpretation capabilities to address whether posts were acceptable were included in the documents. There is speculation that such an oversight led to drug cartel activity and drug trafficking in developing countries.

Executives at Facebook are accused of failing to monitor and police some of its most toxic and prolific users.

Single User Multiple Accounts were reportedly responsible for most toxic political posts and dangerous political activity. This use of the accounts was allowed to continue even though it violated Facebook community guidelines for single users to have multiple accounts.

Some of the documents reveal that management at Facebook were so focused on avoiding accusations of bias, they let political considerations influence the decision-making process.

One of the most damaging accusations is that Facebook has known for years about human traffickers using the platform. Earlier this year, an internal report showed existing gaps in their detection of on-platform entities in ‘domestic servitude.’

In 2019, Apple reportedly threatened to remove Facebook and Instagram from its app store citing the reported sale and trade of women as maids on Facebook in the Middle East. According to the Associated Press, Facebook acknowledged internally that it was “under-enforcing on confirmed abusive activity.”

Documents include claims that employees repeatedly tried to sound the alarm about the dangers being propagated by the social platform.

Conclusions like how the platform allows outright lies and misinformation to be publicly posted, how it incites violence and encourages the sharing of anti-government sentiment were reportedly of concern to some employees. Facebook employees say executives ignored their concerns continually.

Current and former Facebook employees describe a culture where attempts were made to make it safer but were shut down by Facebook leadership.

Many believe Facebook is hurting people, saying there is no neutral position for the company.

Facebook’s response has been to hide behind claims they are simply encouraging people to share their opinions. They want people to believe this is about free speech.

It is true that the First Amendment guarantees us the right to free speech. But that pertains to the government stopping us from expressing our opinions.

It does not apply to forums like Facebook which claim to have policies that prohibit certain types of rhetoric from being written and displayed. They are entitled to cancel the accounts of people who use their forum in a way that elicits violence against people or puts people in harms way. And in some cases, they have done that.

But there is no constituency to the application of their rules and who is allowed to break them. In other words, they are not living up to their duty to oversee their own platform. These leaked documents simply confirm what anyone who has ever visited the site already knows.

They know the site is a safety concern. That it is being used to in harmful ways to plan social violence. And they know their response has been less than adequate.

Most of the news outlets who have viewed the documents agreed on one point. That these documents only paint a partial picture of what is really happening on this social platform.

Facebook executives know it could be used in lots of good ways.

But there is no profit to be made in that. And it is all about the green with these people.

Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at anitamcgill99@gmail.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.