In 3 years I spent at Facebook, I found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national govts to abuse our platform, says ex-staffer Sophie Zhang
Guwahati: In what could be termed as a shocking revelation on world’s political arena, a former employee of Facebook has exposed how various national governments run widespread misinformation political campaigns and how the social media platform slows to act on the malicious accounts.
In a 6,600-word memo obtained by BuzzFeed News, a former data scientist at Facebook Sophie Zhang wrote: “In the three years I’ve spent at Facebook, I’ve found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry, and caused international news on multiple occasions.”
"I know that I have blood on my hands by now," the American digital media outlet quoted Zhang as saying.
As per the BuzzFeed News report, Zhang, who was with Facebook’s Site Integrity fake engagement team, cites examples in the internal memo on how politicians in countries like Honduras, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and even India influence on misleading Facebook campaigns to sway public opinion.
Citing an example, Zhang wrote that the malicious accounts from Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s marketing team in 2019 took the social media network almost a year to take them down.
We ended up removing 10.5 million fake reactions and fans from high-profile politicians’ pages in Brazil and the United States in the 2018 elections, she wrote in the memo, according to BuzzFeed News.
Citing an instance of Delhi’s elections in February 2020, Zhang wrote: “I worked through sickness to take down a politically-sophisticated network of more than a thousand actors working to influence the election.”
Zhang also wrote that there is much-violating behaviour all over the world and it was left to her assessment to decide which cases to investigate or purged.
The sensational revelation in the blistering memo also cited how the giant social media site has failed to act on time or with transparency in tackling attempts to undermine democratic processes around the world and describing the memo as a damning account of Facebook’s failures.
Facebook did not report the takedown officially, she wrote.
However, as per the report, Zhang did not specify who was behind the attempt on misleading Facebook campaigns.