Case Study 01: Facebook Whistleblower
It's doubtful that anyone could have imagined how huge Facebook would become when it first started in 2004. Intended to connect University students together, Facebook has grown to become one of the most important social media sites of its generation. It blew the top off of what the internet had been used for before that, and with that a new age of communication (and miscommunication).
Today there are more than 2.85 billion monthly active users worldwide on Facebook. It is the largest global social media platform.
Which is an awful lot of activity and people to monitor. So it isn't much of a surprise that the app and its creators have had an interesting time trying to keep up with where to draw the line when it comes to freedom of speech.
Recently, the company has come under fire for internal documents released by a whistleblower.
Facebook has been grilled by the Senate, specifically relating to the mention of the company being aware they are toxic to teenage girls in the reports, but not doing much about it. And opinion on Haugen (the woman who released the documents) seems to be divided within the company. There are a lot of factors that come into play when you have a company this big, specifically one that is social media-based. Only so much can be controlled without taking away the freedom for its members to express themselves.
So, could any of this media outrage have been avoided?
Haugen could have used a Z Form to begin the conversation with other members of the Facebook leadership team. Filling out the form to address both the issue of hate speech/misinformation and the dissolving of the civil integrity team she had worked on, perhaps both parties could have come to an understanding on how to move forward from within.
It’s hard to say what the outcome could have been. But Facebook could have responded positively, putting a team back together to increase focus on its monitoring of speech, etc. on the platform.
Or shared a side-by-side comparison of their research-- specifically what is being done to monitor hate speech, etc VS how detrimental it is to the public.
Perhaps there was even information Haugen wasn’t aware of that could have put her mind at ease. Facebook is an enormous company, and if she didn’t work directly in that area she may not have known about the steps they were taking to create a safer space for its users.
One thing is for sure, is that it has created a turbulent moment for both parties and may have been avoided with the right tools-- like the Z Form. Facebook members could use this tool before the situation escalates, or when conflict arises, in order to bridge gaps between personal differences and foster a deeper, mutual understanding.