Fb Decries Wall Avenue Journal Reporting on Inside Analysis

Nick Clegg, Facebook vice president of global affairs, has officially responded to “The Facebook Files,” a Wall Street Journal series based on internal Facebook documents, and to say he doesn’t seem impressed would be an understatement .

So far, the journal has reported on a program that holds high-profile people to different standards than normal Facebook users; Evidence that Facebook is aware of the risks Instagram poses to adolescent users; a change in Facebook’s algorithms that backfired; the company’s struggle to deal with dangerous content; and the way anti-Vaxxers abused the platform.

“These are serious and complex problems,” said Clegg in a statement released on Saturday, “and it is perfectly legitimate that we should be held accountable for how we deal with them. But these stories contain deliberate misrepresentations of what we are trying to “do and impart grossly wrong motives to the leadership and staff of Facebook.”

This is the crux of Clegg’s objection to the journal’s coverage:

“At the heart of this series is a downright false claim: Facebook researches and then systematically and deliberately ignores it when the results are inconvenient for the company. This goes against the motives and hard work of thousands of researchers, policy experts ”and engineers at Facebook eager to improve the quality of our products and understand their wider impacts (positive and negative). This is an assertion that could only be made through selective quotations from individual pieces of leaked material in a way that presents complex and nuanced subjects as if there were always only one correct answer. “

For its part, the Journal said in its first report for “The Facebook Files” that its investigation was based on “extensive internal Facebook communications” as well as “interviews with dozens of current and former employees.” It is also said that at least some of these documents have been submitted to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Clegg’s answer was not limited to cherry-picking allegations. “Facebook recognizes the significant responsibility that comes with operating a global platform,” he said. “We take it seriously and do not shy away from scrutiny and criticism. But we fundamentally reject this incorrect characterization of our work and contestation of corporate motives.”

However, the New York Times reported that Facebook executives “wanted to selectively disclose their own data in the form of carefully curated reports, rather than giving outsiders the tools to discover it for themselves,” just a month before the social network released its first “Widely.” Viewed “published content report” in an alleged attempt to make the platform more transparent.

That report revealed that Facebook had falsely provided researchers with only half of the promised data on the political content engagement in the United States. (Information from other countries was reportedly unaffected.) The company confirmed this bug and said it would try to send the full data in the next few weeks.

Facebook has also been accused in recent months of being hostile to outside researchers, first with New York University’s efforts to investigate political advertisements on the social network, then with a nonprofit called AlgorithmWatch, which said the company had a “thin disguised threat ”in relation to his research on Instagram’s recommendation algorithms.

The company originally alleged that its 2019 agreement with the Federal Trade Commission, in a recent amendment to its antitrust complaint against Facebook, stated that it was “a monopoly that has abused its excessive market power to remove threats to its dominance “It requires meddling NYU research. But the FTC said that claim was false.

“What would be really worrying would be if Facebook didn’t do this kind of research in the first place,” Clegg said today. “The reason for this is that we hold up in the mirror to ourselves and ask the difficult questions of how people interact with social media on a large scale. These are often complex problems to which there are no simple answers – regardless of the desire to reduce them to one attention. “- Put a headline in a newspaper.”

Not so many newspapers can publish attention-grabbing headlines anymore: many smaller publications were closed after losing their advertising revenue to Google and Facebook, and larger publications fired countless authors to focus on video content, which later followed in quite a few cases Backfired, in part, because Facebook inflated ad metrics for its videos.

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