A trove of internal documents turned over to federal regulators by the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is continuing to shed new light on the social media giant’s role in spreading misinformation and polarizing content. A consortium of 17 news outlets examining the so-called Facebook Papers has revealed how Facebook fueled hate speech and violence in India and helped to foment the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. The documents reveal that most of Facebook’s efforts to combat online hate are focused on the United States, with little investment in safety protocols for the rest of the world. One test account set up by Facebook managers to represent an average young adult user in India quickly became flooded with Hindu nationalist propaganda, anti-Muslim hate speech and incitements to violence. A Facebook staffer monitoring the account said, “I’ve seen more images of dead people in the past 3 weeks than I’ve seen in my entire life total.”
Another trove of documents reveals internal anger and regret at Facebook over the company’s role in spreading the QAnon conspiracy theory and so-called Stop the Steal pages that helped fuel the violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Today Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies to lawmakers in the U.K. as they consider an online safety bill.