Facebook told staff it would seal off some internal message boards to prevent leaking. The change was immediately leaked.

·2 min read
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Tobias Hase/picture alliance via Getty Images
  • Facebook told employees it was restricting access to some staff message boards to prevent leaks.

  • Facebook said some groups about platform safety would be made private, The New York Times reported.

  • Last week, the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress.

Facebook told employees on Tuesday that it would restrict access to some internal message boards to prevent leaks, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The company said that in the coming months it would make private some groups related to platform safety and protecting elections, both of which are under the umbrella of "integrity," The Times reported.

Facebook also said it would remove people who don't work directly on safety and security from integrity-related groups, The Times reported.

The move came a week after Frances Haugen, who left Facebook in May and later leaked internal documents to The Wall Street Journal, testified before Congress. Haugen has also filed at least eight whistleblower complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Times said an engineering director wrote in the Tuesday announcement that "as everyone is likely aware, we've seen an increase in the number of Integrity-related leaks in recent months."

"These leaks aren't representative of the nuances and complexities involved in our work and are often taken out of context, leading to our work being mischaracterized externally," the director added, according to The Times.

In a statement to The Times, Facebook said the move had been in the works for months. The Journal reported that Facebook confirmed the authenticity of the announcement that The Times viewed.

A Facebook spokesperson told Insider in a statement: "Leaks decrease the effectiveness, efficiency, and morale of the teams working every day to address the challenges that come with operating a platform for billions of people.

"They can also put employees working on sensitive subjects at risk externally and lead to complex topics being misrepresented and misunderstood."

The Times said that in internal comments it viewed, some Facebook staff members were supportive of the change, while others said it reduced transparency and collaboration.

"Siloing off the people who are dedicated to integrity will harm both active efforts to collaborate and reduce the cultural expectation that integrity is everyone's responsibility," one comment said, according to The Times.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement following Haugen's testimony that the company's work had been "taken out of context and used to construct a false narrative."

Haugen is also set to meet with Facebook's independent oversight board.

Another whistleblower, Sophie Zhang, a former data scientist at Facebook who went public with her criticism of the company in April, said this week that she would be willing to testify before Congress.

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