Facebook’s parent company Meta is facing new whistleblower complaints accusing the company of misleading investors about its efforts to fight climate change and COVID-19 misinformation.
The latest complaints were filed this month with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) by Whistleblower Aid, a nonprofit group representing former Facebook Product Manager turned whistleblower, Frances Haugen.
According to The Washington Post, the complaints state that Facebook made ‘material misrepresentations’ while excluding information in statements to investors regarding its efforts to stem misinformation on its platforms. The Post cited redacted copies of the documents.
Whistleblower Aid confirmed that the complaints had been submitted to the SEC, claiming that investors had every legal right to the truth from the company. The SEC, however, declined to comment on the matter.
Senior counsel at Whistleblower Aid Andrew Bakaj commented:
The documents shared with the SEC make it clear that Facebook was saying one thing in private and another in public regarding its approach to climate change and COVID-19 misinformation.
One of the complaints alleges that climate change misinformation has been ‘prominently available’ on Facebook, despite numerous claims from executives stating they were committed to fighting the ‘global crisis.’ Another complaint states that internal documents presented insights into the proliferation of COIVD-19 misinformation, such as vaccine hesitancy.
Facebook commented that the leaked internal documents were being ’mischaracterized’ and painting a ‘false picture’ of the company. Despite having over 40,000 employees working on safety and security and investing more than $13 billion into such issues, the company continues to face such criticism.
Meta spokesperson, Drew Pusateri, in an emailed statement, said:
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions to stopping the spread of misinformation, but we’re committed to building new tools and policies to combat it.
The spokesperson added that the company is committed to fighting misinformation and also highlighted the efforts of the Climate Science Center.