In a recent article, the New York Times outlines the seemingly coordinated media blitz orchestrated by far-left Facebook “whistleblower” Frances Haugen. The Times compares the coordinated release of stories from Haugen’s team to an “outlet store” of leaked insider documents.
The New York Times reports in an article titled “Inside the Big Facebook Leak,” that far-left Facebook “whistleblower” Frances Haugen is spending her time deciding who she would trust with a number of internal Facebook documents which have since been reported on extensively. Although she initially fed the information to the Wall Street Journal for what the Times labels a “boutique rollout,” she is now running a coordinated campaign to roll out the documents that the Times calls an “outlet store.”
The documents published by the Wall Street Journal claimed that Facebook’s newsfeed algorithm saw a major change in 2018 that appeared to promote outrageous and negative content on the platform. When informed of this, top executives including CEO Mark Zuckerberg were allegedly hesitant to solve the issue.
In another report titled “Facebook Knows Instagram Is Toxic for Teen Girls, Company Documents Show,” the Wall Street Journal claims that Facebook is aware that its photo-sharing app Instagram can have a negative effect on the body image of young women.
The NYT writes that Haugen first provided the internal Facebook documents to WSJ reported Jeff Horwitz exclusively. Haugen had developed a close relationship with Horwitz based on mutual trust which made things particularly uncomfortable when on October 7, a communications firm working with Haugen invited Horwitz, two of his editors, and 17 other journalists from U.S. media outlets onto a Zoom call where Haugen offers to share redacted versions of the Facebook documents under an embargo set by the group.
The communications firm, founded by former Barack Obama aide Bill Burton, would help to manage the process. Horwitz and his editors suddenly found themselves at a loss, Haugen who had previously provided them with exclusive information now was offering important info to any outlets that wanted it. During the call, Jason Dean who works as an editor at the Journal commented, “This is a little awkward.”
The NYT writes:
First she [Haugen] handed her documents to The Journal for a boutique rollout. Then she opened the journalistic equivalent of an outlet store, allowing reporters on two continents to root through everything The Journal had left behind in search of overlooked informational gems. Her intention was to broaden the circle, she said. She added that she plans to share the documents with academic writers and publications from parts of the world where she sees the greatest peril, including India and parts of the Middle East.
“The reason I wanted to do this project is because I think the global South is in danger,” she said.
With this model, Ms. Haugen and her advisers have created a new kind of journalistic network, one that has stirred mixed feelings among the journalists involved. In the last two weeks they have gathered on the messaging app Slack to coordinate their plans — and the name of their Slack group, chosen by Adrienne LaFrance, the executive editor of The Atlantic, suggests their ambivalence: “Apparently We’re a Consortium Now.”
Many of the journalists now involved are confused by this situation where they find themselves working directly with competitors. Alex Heat, a tech reporter for the Verge, commented “This is the weirdest thing I have ever been a part of, reporting-wise.”
Read more at the New York Times here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org