From: Exit Staff
Whistleblower: Facebook Failed to Take Action on Albanian Fake Accounts That Swayed Public Opinion

A Facebook whistleblower has denounced Facebook’s failure to take action on networks of fake accounts, including one supporting a political leader in Albania.

Former data scientist for the social media giant, Sophie Zhang has accused the company of ignoring or failing to act on issues that have undermined elections and political affairs around the world.

In a 6600-word memo, partially published by Buzzfeed, Zhang said:

“I’ve found multiple, blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse the platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry, and caused international news on multiple occasions. I have personally made decisions that affected national presidents, without oversight, and taken action to enforce against so many prominent politicians globally, that I’ve lost count.”

She added that there were countless examples of heads of government and political parties using fake accounts to sway public opinion. Zhang said she also found evidence of coordinated campaigns to influence outcomes.

Countries mentioned in her explosive denunciation include Honduras, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, Bolivia, Ecuador, Spain, India, and Albania. “Fake” activity includes likes, shares, and comments coordinated through sophisticated networks of thousands of profiles and pages.

In Albania, she found a network linked to a political leader that was distorting political discourse. She notified her superiors but no action was taken.

Exit has previously reported on a network of pages, set up to look like profiles, that comment and like political posts, and even attack those who publish criticism of politicians or policies. The investigation found that these pages were all set up on similar dates and used fake names and images of people with no link to Albania or Albanian politics.