Like whistleblower Frances Haugen, these Facebook employees warned about the company’s problems for years. Nobody listened.
In November 2020, another integrity researcher, Lindsay Blackwell, wrote a lengthy letter of resignation on the company’s chat system. Blackwell’s project, called WoW, or the Worst of the Worst, was an attempt to fine-tune the company’s hate speech detection algorithms after an internal investigation found that users want Facebook to use certain highly harmful forms of hate speech, such as attacks on Muslims or LGBTQ people. , stricter than others, according to a person familiar with the project, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive matters. After the team spent more than a year developing a solution to refocus the algorithms, executives and senior leaders drastically redefined the project, arguing that prioritizing the safety of marginalized groups would be too political, it said. the person. Blackwell declined to comment.