OCTOBER 11, 2021
- Facebook told staff how they should speak to their families about criticism of the company, The NYT reports.
- A memo reportedly gave staff talking points, including denying that Facebook puts profit over people.
- It follows former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testifying before Congress last week.
Facebook coached employees on how to talk to their loved ones about the company in the wake of a bombshell congressional hearing, The New York Times reports.
Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testified before Congress last week, telling Senators the company placed profit before people and ignored the harm done by its algorithms. The Times reported on the internal reaction to the testimony and viewed a memo distributed by executives telling staff how they should respond when “asked questions about recent events by friends and family.”
The memo contained a list of talking points, including a denial that the company put profit above safety on its platform, The Times reported. Another talking point was how the company had called for regulation from the government, per the report.
Staff are divided on whether Haugen gave a fair account of the company, per messages on internal message boards viewed by The Times. In one, workers said Haugen was “saying things that many people here have been saying for years,” while others said she lacked knowledge about some of the topics she spoke about, per The Times report.
The Times also viewed a memo in which Facebook’s internal communications department instructed employees not to criticize Haugen to reporters.
“Disparaging her personally is not right, it’s not allowed, and it’s not who we are as a company,” Andrea Saul, a director of policy communications, wrote in the memo, per the report.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a public statement on October 5 following Haugen’s testimony, saying she had presented a “false narrative” about the company.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told The Times, “Since so much of what has been reported about Facebook is wrong, we think it’s important to provide our employees the facts.” Facebook did not immediately provide additional comment when asked by Insider.