What Are Facebook Papers? Documents Reveal Company's Role in January 6 Insurrection

Former Facebook product manager-turned-whistleblower, Frances Haugen leaked a trove of internal company documents, which are now referred as 'Facebook Papers'.

In a severe blow to social media giant Facebook's already questionable reputation, 'Facebook Papers' deemed the company responsible for January 6 riots, among other disturbing claims. Days after rioters wreaked havoc on the Capitol building on January 6, Facebook's Chief Operational Officer Sheryl Sandberg shed light on the company's role in what went down. "We know this was organized online. We know that, " she said in an interview with Reuters. " I think these events were largely organized on platforms that don't have our abilities to stop hate and don't have our standards and don't have our transparency."

This is not the first time Facebook is dealing with a scandal over its take on data privacy and content moderation. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is called upon by the Senate committee to testify.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg REUTERS/Stephen Lam

What are Facebook Papers?

Former Facebook product manager-turned-whistleblower, 37-year-old Frances Haugen leaked a trove of internal company documents, that depict an internally conflicted company. The Facebook Papers project is a collaboration of 17 American news organizations, where journalists from a variety of newsrooms, worked together to gain access to the trove of internal Facebook documents leaked by Frances Haugen. Facebook Papers came under the spotlight when the consortium of news organizations began publishing a series of stories on the documents Friday, October 22. The documents depict how the social networking company frequently overlooked deep-seated problems that researchers and rank-and-file workers uncovered over time. The former employee even alleged that Facebook CEO holds dictatorial power over the social media giant that collects data on roughly 3 billion people around the world.

Frances Haugen
Frances Haugen CBS

Frances Haugen provided the documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission as evidence to support her claims that she made after quitting her job at Facebook in May this year. She even filed for whistleblower protection with the Securities and Exchange Commission. "Facebook misled investors and the public about its role perpetuating misinformation and violent extremism relating to the 2020 election and January 6th insurrection, " Haugen alleged in the SEC disclosure.

Facebook Fires back on the Allegations

Facebook denied Haugen's allegations claiming her disclosures unfairly portray the company in a bad light. "The responsibility for the violence that occurred on January 6 lies with those who attacked our Capitol and those who encouraged them. We took steps to limit the content that sought to delegitimize the election, including labeling candidates' posts with the latest vote count after Mr. Trump prematurely declared victory, " Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told CNN Friday, October 22. Facebook even published a blog post by its vice president of Integrity, Guy Rosen, about its efforts around the 2020 election on Friday night.

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