A Facebook engineer bravely posted his resignation letter on the internal forum detailing how the company failed to uphold its five core values in countering hate in the platform and chose to “be in the wrong side of history.”
In the letter obtained by the Washington Post, Ashok Chandwaney said he quit his job after five and a half years because he is disgusted to contribute in a company “that is profiting off hate” across the U.S. and the world.
On September 8, Chandwaney had his last day at work and he posted the letter to Facebook’s internal employee network. He details how Facebook has failed to uphold its five core values, which include “Be Bold,” “Build Social Value,” “Focus on Impact,” “Be Open,” and “Move Fast” when tackling hate on the platform. This eroded his faith in the “company’s will to remove it from the platform.”
He also noted that he regard being bold as doing something, despite the difficulty, because it is the right thing. In contrast, boldness is not skipping the implementation of what civil rights advocates have recommended.
Chandwaney said that Facebook’s civil rights audit could just be a PR stunt without the genuine will to act. In July, the two-year-long Facebook-commissioned audit found that the company’s decisions led to “serious setbacks for civil rights.”
The engineer was also disappointed that Facebook seems more concerned with strengthening its “business value” than “social value,” which is one of its core values. He also wished to see Facebook’s “serious prioritization of social good,” even without an obvious business value to it or if such may harm the business.
Meanwhile, the engineer added links to cite specific incidents when Facebook failed in managing the platform. These include the recent failure of Facebook to remove an event that encouraged people to go to Kenosha and shoot and kill protesters. The company’s obstructing of an investigation regarding the genocide in Myanmar was also cited by Chandwaney who said that Facebook’s choice to minimize the regulatory risks have endangered the lives of “Black, Indigenous, and people of color.”
As of this writing, Facebook has not yet release any comment regarding the letter.
Download the full copy of the letter here.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ended up banning discussions of “highly charged content” in open groups and forums, although the company values their open discussion and opinion. This was after he intervened between employees who were debating in the company’s Workplace forum about racial bias August 28.
“I don’t believe people working here should have to be confronted with divisive conversations while they’re trying to work,” he added.
Tech Times reported that the incident started after an employee shared a post on the internal messaging board disputing the role of race in policing. Other employees commented on the post, triggering debates over racism.
This prompted Zuckerberg to intervene saying that Facebook’s communications policy is designed “to allow people to discuss very different viewpoints”, but some people have chosen to ignore how their words impact the Black community in the company.
The Daily Beast alleged that Facebook would start filtering controversial topics on the Workplace by creating subchannels for them.