Facebook told employees on Tuesday it was making some of its internal online discussion groups private, in an effort to minimize leaks.
Many Facebook employees join online discussion groups on Workplace, an internal bulletin board that employees use to communicate and collaborate with each other. In Tuesday’s announcement, the company said it was making certain groups focused on platform security and election protection, an area widely known as “integrity,” private rather than audience within the organization, limiting who can see and participate in discussion threads.
The move follows the disclosure by Francoise Haugen, a former employee, thousands of pages of internal documents to regulators, lawmakers and the media. The documents showed that Facebook was aware of some of the damage it was causing. Ms Haugen, a former member of Facebook’s civic disinformation team, has filed a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission and testified before a Senate subcommittee this month.
“As everyone is probably aware, we’ve seen an increase in the number of integrity-related leaks over the past few months,” wrote a technical director in the ad, which was reviewed by The New York Times. “These leaks are not representative of the nuances and complexities involved in our work and are often taken out of context, leading to a poor characterization of our work outside.”
Facebook was known for an open culture that encouraged debate and transparency, but it became more insular as it faced leaks on issues such as toxic speech and disinformation and struggling with employee troubles. In July, the communications team has closed comments on an internal forum used for company wide announcements, writing: “OUR REQUEST: PLEASE DON’T LEAK”.
“Leaks make it more difficult for our teams to work together, can endanger employees working on sensitive topics outdoors and lead to complex topics that are poorly represented and understood,” said Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Facebook, in a statement.
Tuesday’s announcement said Facebook was planning to scour some of the online discussion groups to remove people whose work is not related to safety and security. The changes will occur in “the next few months” and “in the hope that sensitive discussions on integrity will take place in the future in closed and organized forums.”
In internal comments, which were shared with The Times, some employees supported the move while others denounced the loss of transparency and collaboration. They called the change “counterproductive” and “disheartening,” with one person suggesting it could lead to even more leaks from disgruntled employees.
“I think every employee in the company should think about integrity and work on it as part of their day-to-day role, and we should work to foster a culture where it’s expectation,” wrote one Facebook employee. . “Silencing those who are dedicated to integrity will both undermine active collaborative efforts and reduce the cultural expectation that integrity is everyone’s responsibility.” “
Mike isaac contributed reports.
Facebook is cracking down on its internal message boards.
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