All Facebook, All The Time: Monday Facebook Buzz, November 1, 2021

There have been so many Facebook items coming out lately that I decided to put them in their own issue. This may be a one-off or I may have to do this again depending on much Facebook news washes up in my Google Alerts.

New York Times: Facebook Faces a Public Relations Crisis. What About a Legal One?. “Whistle-blowers have filed at least nine complaints to the agency, which has oversight of public companies like Facebook, using a selection of the internal documents to argue that Facebook misled investors with a rosier picture of the company than they knew to be true. The S.E.C. can impose big fines for misleading investors and impose restrictions on corporate leaders. A case from securities regulators is probably far from a slam dunk, several legal experts said. The accusations in the complaints don’t appear to be quite as clear-cut as many other accounting and fraud cases taken up by the agency, they said.”

NiemanLab: I’m in the consortium possessing the leaked Facebook documents. Let’s dissolve it.. “On Monday, the consortium of news organizations tasked with combing through Frances Haugen’s Facebook documents expanded its ranks to include my small, independent newsletter, Big Technology. While it’s nice to be in this consortium — which includes the AP, The New York Times, The Atlantic, and others — I now believe it’s time to dissolve it.”

NBC News: Documents reveal Facebook targeted children as young as 6 for consumer base. “In the internal blog post published April 9, the author wrote that the company planned to hire several positions as it expanded into offering its full range of products to children younger than its current threshold of 13 years old. Diagrams illustrate proposed new target age groups, ranging from kids 6 to 9 years old and tweens 10 to 12 years old — along with existing targets of early teens from 13 to 15 years old, late teens from 16 to 17 years old, and adults.”

The Verge: Facebook Isn’t Telling The Whole Story About Its Mental Health Research . “Though Facebook’s work by itself is limited, it fits into a larger set of data — including from researchers outside the company — that suggests social media can have harmful effects on mental health. And even if that context didn’t exist, Facebook’s work alone suggests something bad enough is going on that it should cause concern.”

CNN: Facebook says it’s facing ‘government investigations’ related to whistleblower documents. “‘Beginning in September 2021, we became subject to government investigations and requests relating to a former employee’s allegations and release of internal company documents concerning, among other things, our algorithms, advertising and user metrics, and content enforcement practices, as well as misinformation and other undesirable activity on our platform, and user well-being,’ the company said in its quarterly earnings filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).”

Washington Post: Actually, Facebook isn’t making people angrier. Some people are just jerks.. “Most people — even at Facebook — think that the big problem with social media is that it makes people angrier than they might otherwise be, and more likely to believe false things. But our research suggests that online hostility isn’t a product of social media and algorithms. People who are angry when they talk about politics online are angry in offline political discussions, too. And when they share misinformation, it’s generally not because they are making a sincere mistake. It’s because they want to stick it to the people they hate, whether or not the actual complaint is true.” As I noted on Twitter, I will blame us for the fire, but I will blame Facebook for the gasoline.

New York Times: Facebook tells employees to preserve all communications for legal reasons.. “Facebook has told employees to ‘preserve internal documents and communications since 2016’ that pertain to its businesses because governments and legislative bodies have started inquiries into its operations, according to a company email sent on Tuesday night.”

Politico: How Facebook users wield multiple accounts to spread toxic politics. “Meet SUMAs: a smattering of accounts run by a single person using their real identity, known internally at Facebook as Single User Multiple Accounts. And a significant swath of them spread so many divisive political posts that they’ve mushroomed into a massive source of the platform’s toxic politics, according to internal company documents and interviews with former employees.”

BuzzFeed News: Facebook Stopped Employees From Reading An Internal Report About Its Role In The Insurrection. You Can Read It Here.. “Last Thursday, BuzzFeed News revealed that an internal Facebook report concluded that the company had failed to prevent the ‘Stop the Steal’ movement from using its platform to subvert the election, encourage violence, and help incite the Jan. 6 attempted coup on the US Capitol. Titled ‘Stop the Steal and Patriot Party: The Growth and Mitigation of an Adversarial Harmful Movement,’ the report is one of the most important analyses of how the insurrectionist effort to overturn a free and fair US presidential election spread across the world’s largest social network — and how Facebook missed critical warning signs.”

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