free speech non è sinonimo di free reach.
ribadisco che secondo me bisogna introdurre frizioni nella diffusione e ridiffusione dei post, diverse per diverse categorie di acountability a cui la persona aderisce
- zero accountability: limiti nella quantità e velocita’ di diffusione
- totale accountability: nessun limite alla quantità e velocità di diffusione
- in mezzo, una graduazione di accountability e di reach
Il livello di accountability non deve essere necessariamente totalizzante. Uno potrebbe decidere diversi livelli di accountability per post diversi.
Source : Buzzfeednews
“I Have Blood On My Hands”: A Whistleblower Says Facebook Ignored Global Political Manipulation
Facebook ignored or was slow to act on evidence that fake accounts on its platform have been undermining elections and political affairs around the world, according to an explosive memo sent by a recently fired Facebook employee and obtained by BuzzFeed News.
The 6,600-word memo, written by former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang, is filled with concrete examples of heads of government and political parties in Azerbaijan and Honduras using fake accounts or misrepresenting themselves to sway public opinion. In countries including India, Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Bolivia, and Ecuador, she found evidence of coordinated campaigns of varying sizes to boost or hinder political candidates or outcomes, though she did not always conclude who was behind them.
“In the three years I’ve spent at Facebook, I’ve found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry, and caused international news on multiple occasions,” wrote Zhang, who declined to talk to BuzzFeed News. Her LinkedIn profile said she “worked as the data scientist for the Facebook Site Integrity fake engagement team” and dealt with “bots influencing elections and the like.”
“I have personally made decisions that affected national presidents without oversight, and taken action to enforce against so many prominent politicians globally that I’ve lost count,” she wrote.
The memo is a damning account of Facebook’s failures. It’s the story of Facebook abdicating responsibility for malign activities on its platform that could affect the political fate of nations outside the United States or Western Europe. It’s also the story of a junior employee wielding extraordinary moderation powers that affected millions of people without any real institutional support, and the personal torment that followed.
“I know that I have blood on my hands by now,” Zhang wrote.
These are some of the biggest revelations in Zhang’s memo:
It took Facebook’s leaders nine months to act on a coordinated campaign “that used thousands of inauthentic assets to boost President Juan Orlando Hernandez of Honduras on a massive scale to mislead the Honduran people.” Two weeks after Facebook took action against the perpetrators in July, they returned, leading to a game of “whack-a-mole” between Zhang and the operatives behind the fake accounts, which are still active.
In Azerbaijan, Zhang discovered the ruling political party “utilized thousands of inauthentic assets… to harass the opposition en masse.” Facebook began looking into the issue a year after Zhang reported it. The investigation is ongoing.
Zhang and her colleagues removed “10.5 million fake reactions and fans from high-profile politicians in Brazil and the US in the 2018 elections.”
In February 2019, a NATO researcher informed Facebook that “he’d obtained Russian inauthentic activity on a high-profile U.S. political figure that we didn’t catch.” Zhang removed the activity, “dousing the immediate fire,” she wrote.
In Ukraine, Zhang “found inauthentic scripted activity” supporting both former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, a pro–European Union politician and former presidential candidate, as well as Volodymyr Groysman, a former prime minister and ally of former president Petro Poroshenko. “Volodymyr Zelensky and his faction was the only major group not affected,” Zhang said of the current Ukrainian president.
Zhang discovered inauthentic activity — a Facebook term for engagement from bot accounts and coordinated manual accounts— in Bolivia and Ecuador but chose “not to prioritize it,” due to her workload. The amount of power she had as a mid-level employee to make decisions about a country’s political outcomes took a toll on her health.
After becoming aware of coordinated manipulation on the Spanish Health Ministry’s Facebook page during the COVID-19 pandemic, Zhang helped find and remove 672,000 fake accounts “acting on similar targets globally” including in the US.
In India, she worked to remove “a politically-sophisticated network of more than a thousand actors working to influence” the local elections taking place in Delhi in February. Facebook never publicly disclosed this network or that it had taken it down.
“We’ve built specialized teams, working with leading experts, to stop bad actors from abusing our systems, resulting in the removal of more than 100 networks for coordinated inauthentic behavior,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois said in a statement. “It’s highly involved work that these teams do as their full-time remit. Working against coordinated inauthentic behavior is our priority, but we’re also addressing the problems of spam and fake engagement. We investigate each issue carefully, including those that Ms. Zhang raises, before we take action or go out and make claims publicly as a company.”
BuzzFeed News is not publishing Zhang’s full memo because it contains personal information. This story includes full excerpts when possible to provide appropriate context.
In her post, Zhang said she did not want it to go public for fear of disrupting Facebook’s efforts to prevent problems around the upcoming 2020 US presidential election, and due to concerns about her own safety. BuzzFeed News is publishing parts of her memo that are clearly in the public interest.
Do you work at Facebook or another technology company? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or via one of our tip line channels.
“I consider myself to have been put in an impossible spot – caught between my loyalties to the company and my loyalties to the world as a whole,” she said. “The last thing I want to do is distract from our efforts for the upcoming U.S. elections, yet I know this post will likely do so internally.”
Zhang said she turned down a $64,000 severance package from the company to avoid signing a nondisparagement agreement. Doing so allowed her to speak out internally, and she used that freedom to reckon with the power that she had to police political speech.
“There was so much violating behavior worldwide that it was left to my personal assessment of which cases to further investigate, to file tasks, and escalate for prioritization afterwards,” she wrote.
That power contrasted with what she said seemed to be a lack of desire from senior leadership to protect democratic processes in smaller countries. Facebook, Zhang said, prioritized regions including the US and Western Europe, and often only acted when she repeatedly pressed the issue publicly in comments on Workplace, the company’s internal, employee-only message board.
“With no oversight whatsoever, I was left in a situation where I was trusted with immense influence in my spare time,” she wrote. “A manager on Strategic Response mused to myself that most of the world outside the West was effectively the Wild West with myself as the part-time dictator – he meant the statement as a compliment, but it illustrated the immense pressures upon me.”
A former Facebook engineer who knew her told BuzzFeed News that Zhang was skilled at discovering fake account networks on the platform.
“Most of the world outside the West was effectively the Wild West with myself as the part-time dictator.”
“She’s the only person in this entire field at Facebook that I ever trusted to be earnest about this work,” said the engineer, who had seen a copy of Zhang’s post and asked not to be named because they no longer work at the company.
“A lot of what I learned from that post was shocking even to me as someone who’s often been disappointed at how the company treats its best people,” they said.
Zhang’s memo said the lack of institutional support and heavy stakes left her unable to sleep. She often felt responsible when civil unrest took hold in places she didn’t prioritize for investigation and action.
“I have made countless decisions in this vein – from Iraq to Indonesia, from Italy to El Salvador,” she wrote. “Individually, the impact was likely small in each case, but the world is a vast place.”
Still, she did not believe that the failures she observed during her two and a half years at the company were the result of bad intent by Facebook’s employees or leadership. It was a lack of resources, Zhang wrote, and the company’s tendency to focus on global activity that posed public relations risks, as opposed to electoral or civic harm.
“Facebook projects an image of strength and competence to the outside world that can lend itself to such theories, but the reality is that many of our actions are slapdash and haphazard accidents,” she wrote.
“We simply didn’t care enough to stop them”