Update on Aug 1, 13: 40 pm IST
Data scientist Sophie Zhang's website removed from Facebook suddenly shut down. The reason is the memo written by him against Facebook, which the social media giant was pressurizing to remove. For refusing, he had to face the consequences.
In an 8,000-word memo written on the last day at the company, he had alleged that Facebook was slow to identify and crack down on fake accounts that influence elections. It has given freedom to leaders of about 25 countries to misuse the platform politically and mislead people. What were the difficulties faced by telling the real character of Facebook, read Zhang's ordeal...
The platform was misused in many countries to benefit a particular party.
I joined Facebook in 2018. In my tenure of three years, I have seen the misuse of our platform on a large scale by foreign nationals to mislead people about citizenship. The company took decisions that affect heads of state. Organized campaigns on social media against many prominent politicians globally,Which benefited the particular party. Top leaders of the world used fake accounts for political gains. An attempt was made to keep the critics away by misleading the people. I spent my entire time identifying fake accounts that could manipulate election results around the world.I had enough evidence that there were millions of fake posts during the Brazilian election. The government of Azerbaijan used thousands of fake pages to deal with the protests. Spain's Ministry of Health benefited from collaborative manipulation during Corona.It happened everywhere in Mexico, Bolivia, Afghanistan. Despite repeated warnings, nothing was done by the company. I was carrying this responsibility alone from the beginning. Everyone knew this was wrong, but no one was ready to come up with a solution.
This memo was the last chance to put pressure on the company leadership. To silence me, a severance package (withdrawal) of Rs 48 lakh was also offered. But I did not compromise on my freedom of speech. It was also written in the memo and even today I say that there is blood in my hands,Raising your hands at this point would be a betrayal of your identity. In 2020, I was fired as ineligible. Now by removing the memo, the company is busy in telling itself clearly. -Sophie Zhang