The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook's vice president for global affairs had criticized a series describing how the social network knew of many problems on its platforms, but did little to address them.
Nick Clegg posted on Facebook that, while it was legitimate for us all to be held accountable for how we handle some of the issues highlighted in the Journal report, the stories contained deliberately mischaracterized what we are trying do and conferred egregiously false motives on Facebooks leadership as well as employees.
The Journal published a series of stories about Facebook this week based on internal documents. It concluded that Facebook's platforms are plagued with flaws that can cause harm, sometimes in ways that only the company fully understands.
These stories covered the XCheck program, which the Journal determined exempts celebrities from Facebooks standard moderator rules; internal research that showed that its photo platform Instagram was problematic for its younger users mental health; how Facebook changed its algorithm to increase engagement but make users more angry; employee concerns about how it may use its platforms in human trafficking; and how Mark Zuckerberg's decision to promote COVID-19 vaccinations drew anti vax activists to flood Facebook with barriers to vaccination content. The complete Facebook Files series can be viewed here.
Two senators from the Commerce Committee panel, which oversees consumer protection, said that they would launch an investigation after the Journals reported that Facebook knew that Instagram could harm teenage girls.
Clegg stated in a blog post that Facebook's claim that it conducts research, then ignores it systematically and willfully if the results are not convenient for them was false. We fundamentally reject this mischaracterization and questioning of our motives.
The Wall Street Journal did no immediate reply to email requests for comment on Saturday.