Engineer quits Facebook

Another engineer has left Facebook because of its recent hate speech policies. Ashok Chandwaney, who worked at the company for over five years, said Facebook is “profiting off hate in the US and globally.”

Facebook has recently seen many employees leave the company because of its recent policies on hate speech and disinformation. It started after Mark Zuckerberg’s decision to not remove President Trump’s “shooting starts post.

For the uninitiated, US President Donald Trump had made a post at the time of protests against police brutality after the death of George Floyd. The post said, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” While Twitter restricted the post, Facebook didn’t take any steps to curb what many saw as a clear incitement to violence.

In a public post on the platform, Chandwaney cited several reasons leading to their decision to quit.

Facebook Engineer quits
A screenshot from Ashok Chandwaney’s Facebook post

Chandwaney, a software engineer at Facebook, is gender non-binary and uses they/them pronouns. They have made a public post recalling Facebook’s core values and how they’ve been reduced to “business value.”

The company is taking flak from multiple sides because of its poor content moderation. However, recently, Facebook has taken measures to control hate speech and curb violence on its platform.

On the other hand, the company issued a statement after accusations of allowing hate speech from people associated with the ruling party in India.

Chandwaney posted, “Every day “the looting starts, the shooting starts” stays up is a day that we choose to minimize regulatory risk at the expense of the safety of Black, Indigenous, and people of color.”

Several reasons for their resignation include the company’s role in the recent Kenosha shootings. They also cite the company’s admittance of its role in the Myanmar genocide and in letting extremist movements use its platform. Their post also points to government regulation as a successful example of curbing hate speech in German social media.

The Facebook engineer also stated that “In all my roles across the company, at the end of the day, the decisions have actually come down to business value. What I wish I saw were a serious prioritization of social good even when there isn’t an immediately obvious business value to it, or when there may be business harm that comes from it.”

Talking about the core values of Facebook, Chandwaney addressed each value separately. They raised questions like “Violent hate groups and far-right militias are out there, and they’re using Facebook to recruit and radicalize people who will go on to commit violent hate crimes. So where’s the metric about this?”

Further, they wrote about the company’s rapid handling of bugs and other issues while ignoring hate-speech on the platform. They also highlighted Facebook’s non-willingness to take responsibility for the Kenosha shootings, while the company blames “contract content moderators, who are underpaid and undersupported in their jobs – both of which are things Facebook could almost instantly fix if it so chose.”

Manik Berry
Manik is fascinated by smartphones and ecosystems. He also likes a strong coffee after a long bike ride.