Public

The researcher later ran polarization experiments on a left-leaning test account and found that Facebook’s algorithms fed it “low quality” memes and political misinformation. She left the company in August 2020, the same month that Facebook cracked down on QAnon pages and groups.

In her exit note, which was reviewed by The Times and was previously reported by BuzzFeed News, she said Facebook was “knowingly exposing users to risks of integrity harms” and cited the company’s slowness in acting on QAnon as a reason for her departure.

“We’ve known for over a year now that our recommendation systems can very quickly lead users down the path to conspiracy theories and groups,” the researcher wrote. “In the meantime, the fringe group/set of beliefs has grown to national prominence with QAnon congressional candidates and QAnon hashtags and groups trending in the mainstream.”

Facebook tried leaving little to chance with the 2020 election.

For months, the company refined emergency measures known as “break glass” plans — such as slowing down the formation of new Facebook groups — in case of a contested result. Facebook also hired tens of thousands of employees to secure the site for the election, consulted with legal and policy experts and expanded partnerships with fact-checking organizations.

In a September 2020 public post, Mr. Zuckerberg wrote that his company had “a responsibility to protect our democracy.” He highlighted a voter registration campaign that Facebook had funded and laid out steps the company had taken — such as removing voter misinformation and blocking political ads — to “reduce the chances of violence and unrest.”

Many measures appeared to help. Election Day came and went without major hitches at Facebook.

But after the vote counts showed a tight race between Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr., then the Democratic presidential candidate, Mr. Trump posted in the early hours of Nov. 4 on Facebook and Twitter: “They are trying to STEAL the Election.”

The internal documents show that users had found ways on Facebook to undermine confidence in the vote.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/22/technology/facebook-election-misinformation.html

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