There has been plenty of finger-pointing in the wake of Facebook’s obvious penchant for promoting fake news stories. Now, a former Facebook news writer is offering her own take on just how things got so bad, and she’s not holding back.
Mythill Sampathkumar took to Twitter to lay it all on the table, claiming that Facebook’s knee-jerk reaction to fire the trending news writers in the wake of Gizmodo‘s report that the social network “routinely suppressed” news from conservative sources. The report itself received pushback from Facebook employees, including the company’s Vice President of Search, Tom Stocky.
Sampathkumar went on to say that she believes Facebook fired the human curators in an effort to save face, with pressure mounting from advertisers and conservatives who demanded blood.
Sampathkumar says that in the wake of Gizmodo‘s report, Facebook did away with the Trending News team entirely, and left it up to algorithms to decide what news would be promoted. This, she says, is what led to the fake news epidemic that still plagues the site.
As for her own experience working for Facebook, Sampathkumar notes that as an employee of a third party contracted by Facebook, she and her fellow writers were “treated like garbage” because their jobs were thought of as expendable, and would eventually be replaced by the algorithm.
She does, however, say that she likes Facebook as a service, and that some of the people running the show are “genuine,” while at the same time noting that the news curators that were fired were the ones who were clearly protecting users from fake news sources.