Facebook is tackling fake news, employees say – but tech world disagrees

By Lucy Ingham

The majority of Facebook employees believe the social media giant is doing enough to tackle fake news and hate speech on the platform, at stark odds to the majority of tech professionals at other leading companies.

In a survey by anonymous professional network Blind, which puts questions to verified employees of leading technology companies, 71% of Facebook employees said that the company was doing enough to tackle misinformation and hate speech related to the upcoming election.

However, when the same question was put to professionals working for other technology companies, just 29% said they thought the platform was doing enough.

The survey comes as Facebook removed a post by US President Donald Trump that claimed seasonal flu was more deadly than Covid-19 – which is incorrect, according to health experts, as so qualifies as fake news.

Facebook, fake news and the next election

Facebook has been repeatedly accused of failing to do enough to tackle fake news on the platform, particularly related to the next election.

A key area for this has been around mail-in voting, which Trump has sought to characterise as at risk of fraud despite multiple experts – including Susan Herman, president of the American Civil Liberties Union, attesting that this is not the case.

This has led some to accuse Facebook of biasing its algorithm to support Trump, however this a view that is met with very little support from Facebook employees, with just 5% sharing this belief.

By contrast, 11% of Facebook employees believe the platform is biased towards Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign, while 84% believe it is not biased towards either candidate.

Among non-Facebook tech professionals, only 48% believe it is not biased towards either, however the split between candidates is relatively close, with 31% believing Facebook is pro-Trump and 21% pro-Biden.

Read more: Facebook will label Trump election victory misinformation: Nick Clegg