A new report claims that Facebook's policy group deleted misinformation flags against high-profile conservative pages, and fired an employee who gathered evidence of the company giving right-wing sites and figures preferential treatment.
According to a Buzzfeed News report, which cited internal documents and discussions, employees have questioned Facebook executives at recent all-hands meetings over the company's handling of right-wing press outlets that publish false or problematic information. One example cited was a video from Breitbart News, a Facebook news partner with a prominent position in its news tab, that pushed unproven treatments for COVID-19 and discouraged wearing masks.
In response, a group of employees began gathering evidence that they say shows a pattern of preferential policy treatment towards right-wing outlets and figures, including Breitbart, including Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, Trump supporters Diamond and Silk, and conservative nonprofit Prager University.
Those employees claim that misinformation flags for Breitbart were removed by someone acting on the publication's behalf within Facebook's policy group, and that Facebook's VP of global public policy, Joel Kaplan, personally intervened in some policy decisions around right-wing figures.
Some individual employees faced consequences for gathering data or speaking up about the treatment of right-wing figures, including one engineer who was dismissed.
Facebook has faced stiff criticism over time for allowing misinformation and other problematic content to proliferate on its platform, and more recently, for inaction on incendiary posts by President Donald Trump.
According to Buzzfeed News, the Facebook employees involved in investigating its treatment of right-wing figures also expressed concerns about the possibility of Trump spreading voting-related misinformation or otherwise trying to undermine the outcome of the upcoming November elections.