Facebook Begs to Differ With Scathing Investigative Report

Company says 'Wall Street Journal' series is 'riddled with flaws'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2021 8:37 AM CDT
Facebook Begs to Differ With Scathing Investigative Report
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published a series of investigative articles about Facebook, and now the company is pushing back by describing the stories as "riddled with flaws" and "deliberate mischaracterizations," per Insider.

  • "At the heart of this series is an allegation that is just plain false: that Facebook conducts research and then systematically and willfully ignores it if the findings are inconvenient for the company," writes Facebook VP Nick Clegg in a blog post.
  • He accuses the Journal of "cherry-picking" information from leaked internal research to present Facebook in the worst possible light. One of the most serious allegations is that Facebook-owned Instagram knew its product was particularly toxic for teen girls but kept focusing on that demographic.

  • "What would be really worrisome is if Facebook didn’t do this sort of research in the first place," writes Clegg. "The reason we do it is to hold up a mirror to ourselves and ask the difficult questions about how people interact at scale with social media." He adds: "We fundamentally reject this mischaracterization of our work and impugning of the company’s motives. I wish there were easy answers to these issues, and that choices we might make wouldn’t come with difficult trade-offs."
  • A response: Journal reporter Dustin Volz, who did not work on the series, tweeted his own response to the Facebook rebuttal. "This Facebook statement huffs and puffs about ‘mischaracterizations’ and ‘lop-sided views’ but what it lacks is a refutation of any specific facts reported by WSJ,” he wrote.
  • The series: See the full Journal series the "Facebook Files," including links to related podcasts, here.
(More Facebook stories.)

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