(PresidentialWire.com)- In an interview with the MIT Technology Review, former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang claimed that after Facebook fired her last year, she turned down a $64,000 severance package that she alleges was Facebook trying to silence her.
In her interview with Technology Review, Zhang explained why she chose to turn whistleblower in order to expose Facebook’s worldwide political manipulation, saying that someone “had to take the responsibility and do the utmost to protect people.” Since Zhang was the only one in the position to do something, she decided it had to be her.
Zhang’s accusations of Facebook’s political manipulation were first reported in September 2020 when Buzzfeed News published an explosive memo from Zhang. In the memo she claimed that world leaders have used fake accounts for political advantage while Facebook turned a blind eye to it.
In her memo, Zhang said she found evidence of such manipulation – including that Brazilian and Indian lawmakers received millions of fake interactions during their election seasons. Likewise, the government of Azerbaijan deployed thousands of fake pages to target its opposition. Zhang’s memo included other such examples as well.
In response to the Buzzfeed report, Facebook issued a statement denying the claims in Zhang’s memo, claiming that the social media giant has specialized teams that work with “leading experts to stop bad actors from abusing our systems.” It added that more than 100 networks of “coordinated inauthentic behavior” had been shut down, adding that fighting against this behavior was its priority.
After Facebook terminated Zhang, she reposted the memo to her personal website. However, only those with a password could view it. Zhang gave Facebook employees the password. In her interview with Technology Review, Zhang said Facebook told her to take it down. She refused the request. So Facebook went directly to her website’s hosting service and lodged a complaint. In response, on September 7, 2020, her hosting service shut her website down.
According to Fox Business, Zhang said that her website to this day still remains offline.