Facebook Clamps Down on Its Internal Message Boards

Facebook instructed workers on Tuesday that it was making a few of its inner on-line dialogue teams non-public, in an effort to attenuate leaks.

Many Facebook workers be part of on-line dialogue teams on Workplace, an inner message board that staff use to speak and collaborate with each other. In the announcement on Tuesday, the corporate mentioned it was making some teams centered on platform security and defending elections, an space recognized broadly as “integrity,” non-public as a substitute of public inside the firm, limiting who can view and take part within the dialogue threads.

The transfer follows the disclosure by Frances Haugen, a former worker, of 1000’s of pages of inner paperwork to regulators, lawmakers and the information media. The paperwork confirmed that Facebook was conscious of a few of the harms it was inflicting. Ms. Haugen, a former member of Facebook’s civic misinformation workforce, has filed a whistle-blower grievance with the Securities and Exchange Commission and testified to a Senate subcommittee this month.

“As everyone is likely aware, we’ve seen an increase in the number of Integrity-related leaks in recent months,” an engineering director wrote within the announcement, which was reviewed by The New York Times. “These leaks aren’t representative of the nuances and complexities involved in our work and are often taken out of context, leading to our work being mischaracterized externally.”

Facebook had been recognized for an open tradition that inspired debate and transparency, however it has change into extra insular because it has confronted leaks about points akin to poisonous speech and misinformation and grappled with worker unrest. In July, the communications workforce shuttered feedback on an inner discussion board used for companywide bulletins, writing, “OUR ONE REQUEST: PLEASE DON’T LEAK.”

“Leaks make it harder for our teams to work together, can put employees working on sensitive subjects at risk externally and lead to complex topics being misrepresented and misunderstood,” Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, mentioned in a press release. Mr. Stone additionally mentioned Facebook had been planning the modifications for months.

Tuesday’s announcement said that Facebook plans to comb by way of a few of the on-line dialogue teams to take away people whose work isn’t associated to security and safety. The modifications will happen in “the coming months” and “with the expectation that sensitive Integrity discussions will happen in closed, curated forums in the future.”

In inner feedback, which had been shared with The Times, some workers supported the transfer whereas others denounced the lack of transparency and collaboration. They referred to as the change “counterproductive” and “disheartening,” with one particular person suggesting that it might result in much more leaks from disgruntled workers.

“I think every single employee at the company should be thinking about and working on integrity as part of their day-to-day role, and we should work to foster a culture where that’s the expectation,” one Facebook worker wrote. “Siloing off the people who are dedicated to integrity will harm both active efforts to collaborate and reduce the cultural expectation that integrity is everyone’s responsibility.”

Mike Isaac contributed reporting.

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