Facebook is reportedly trying to reduce insider leaks by making some of its internal online discussion groups private instead of public. Facebook told employees on Tuesday that it’s limiting who can view and participate in some “Integrity” groups focused on platform safety and protecting elections, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The move comes after Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower, disclosed thousands of documents and internal communications that showed Facebook was aware of the dangers of its products but downplayed these effects publicly. Lawmakers across the political spectrum have so far responded with renewed interest in holding Facebook to account.
Last week, Haugen appeared before a US Senate subcommittee and alleged that Facebook’s products “harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticized Haugen’s testimony, saying it presented a “false picture” of the social network.
“As everyone is likely aware, we’ve seen an increase in the number of Integrity-related leaks in recent months,” an engineering director wrote in the announcement, which was reviewed by the 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.”
Tuesday’s announcement indicated that some of the discussion groups will be reviewed to remove individuals whose work isn’t related to safety and security. Facebook’s announcement said the changes are expected to occur in “the coming months” and “with the expectation that sensitive Integrity discussions will happen in closed, curated forums in the future,” the Times reported.
Facebook appeared to defend the move on Wednesday, saying that information leaks hurt the company’s work.
“Leaks decrease the effectiveness, efficiency, and morale of the teams working every day to address the challenges that come with operating a platform for billions of people,” Facebook spokesperson Tracy Clayton said in a statement. “They can also put employees working on sensitive subjects at risk externally and lead to complex topics being misrepresented and misunderstood.”