Facebook has begun firing its fact-checkers and has admitted that the censorship operation has been a catastrophic failure.
Amid millions of users worldwide abandoning the platform, CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been forced to take drastic action and reverse his pro-censorship stance.
Tech layoffs ravage the teams that fight online misinformation and hate speech
Toward the end of 2022, engineers on Meta’s team combating misinformation were ready to debut a key fact-checking tool that had taken half a year to build. The company needed all the reputational help it could get after a string of crises had badly damaged the credibility of Facebook and Instagram and given regulators additional ammunition to bear down on the platforms.
The new product would let third-party fact-checkers like The Associated Press and Reuters, as well as credible experts, add comments at the top of questionable articles on Facebook as a way to verify their trustworthiness.
But CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s commitment to make 2023 the “year of efficiency” spelled the end of the ambitious effort, according to three people familiar with the matter who asked not to be named due to confidentiality agreements.
Over multiple rounds of layoffs, Meta announced plans to eliminate roughly 21,000 jobs, a mass downsizing that had an outsized effect on the company’s trust and safety work. The fact-checking tool, which had initial buy-in from executives and was still in a testing phase early this year, was completely dissolved, the sources said…
Across the tech industry, as companies tighten their belts and impose hefty layoffs to address macroeconomic pressures and slowing revenue growth, wide swaths of people tasked with protecting the internet’s most-populous playgrounds are being shown the exits.
Democrats and pro-censorship leftists are naturally outraged about Facebook’s decision to allow free speech to resume on the platform:
The fact that Mark Zuckerberg can afford a 5-house estate in San Francisco for $37,000,000 in the midst of historic Big Tech layoffs is all the proof we need that it’s time to rein in corporate greed and yes, tax the rich.
— Pramila Jayapal (@PramilaJayapal) May 25, 2023
Important story by @haydenfield and @JonathanVanian: “Meta, Amazon, Alphabet and Twitter have all drastically reduced the size of their teams focused on internet trust and safety as well as ethics as the companies focus on cost cuts.” https://t.co/vB32QWuihb
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) May 26, 2023