A former Facebook employee reportedly told U.S. officials on Friday the platform made a profit before shutting down problematic content, weeks after another whistleblower helped fuel the company’s latest crisis with allegations similar.
The new anonymous whistleblower has filed a complaint with the U.S. financial regulator Securities and Exchange Commission that could exacerbate the company’s problems, according to a Washington Post report.
Over past few months Facebook has faced a storm of criticism after former employee Frances Haugen published internal papers revealing the business was aware of possible harm generated by its platforms, prompting US lawmakers’ to renew a push for regulation.
The new whistleblower recounts alleged statements from 2017, when the firm was debating how to handle the crisis over Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, in the SEC lawsuit.
“It will be a flash in the pan. Some legislators will get pissy. And then in a few weeks they will move onto something else. Meanwhile we are printing money in the basement, and we are fine,” Tucker Bounds, a member of Facebook’s communications team, was quoted in the complaint as saying, The Washington Post reported.
According to the reports, the second whistleblower signed the complaint on October 13, a week after Haugen’s blistering speech before a Senate panel.
Haugen testified before Congress that Facebook prioritised profits before safety, prompting her to leak reams of internal corporate studies, which were used to support a damning Wall Street Journal series.
The Washington Post reported the new whistleblower’s SEC filing claims the social media giant’s managers routinely undermined efforts to combat misinformation and other problematic content for fear of angering then US president Donald Trump or for turning off the users who are key to profits.
Erin McPike, a Facebook spokeswoman, said the article was “beneath the Washington Post, which during the last five years would only report stories after deep reporting with corroborating sources.”
Facebook has faced previous firestorms of controversy, but that has not translated into substantial new US legislation to regulate social media.
(With inputs from agencies)