A Facebook engineer has revealed they have quit the social network because they believe the company ‘profits off hate’.
Ashok Chandwaney, who spent more than five years at Facebook, said they were leaving because they could ‘no longer stomach’ contributing to the company.
In a lengthy departure letter posted to Facebook’s internal network, Chandwaney sought to substantiate claims with a number of links outlining Facebook’s “astonishing” inaction in dealing with hate speech on the platform.
“I’m quitting because I can no longer stomach contributing to an organisation that is profiting off hate in the US and globally,” they wrote (via Washington Post).
Chandwaney said Facebook had been slow to enact the recommendations of civil rights activists and suspects an internal audit on the matter “was intended to be a PR deflection strategy.” They criticised Facebook’s inaction on the issue of determining white nationalism as hate speech, while continuing to allow discriminatory advertising and the deliberate spread of misinformation from the American far-right.
They also claimed Facebook was “dishonest” in its response to the recent shootings in the American city of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The militia allegedly involved in the shooting of protestors had discussed plans to “kill looters and rioters” in a Facebook group prior to the event. Following complaints, Facebook initially allowed the content to stay up because it didn’t go against community standards, but claimed to have removed it the next day. A Buzzfeed report revealed the militia group had first removed the page itself.
“It is clear to me that despite the best efforts of many of us who work here, and outside advocates like Color Of Change, Facebook is choosing to be on the wrong side of history,” Chandwaney said.
“This is your company now,” Chandwaney adds at the end of the letter, encouraging likeminded former colleagues to reach out. “I know I’m not alone in being upset about Facebook’s willingness to profit off of hate.”
Facebook, in response, denied that it benefits from the proliferation of hate on the platform. Spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois said: “We invest billions of dollars each year to keep our community safe and are in deep partnership with outside experts to review and update our policies.
“This summer we launched an industry leading policy to go after QAnon, grew our fact-checking program, and removed millions of posts tied to hate organisations — over 96% of which we found before anyone reported them to us.”