Hey, Kid, Wanna See Some Leaked Facebook Docs?

Hey, Kid, Wanna See Some Leaked Facebook Docs?
Photo: House Energy and Commerce Committee, AP

You’ve probably seen the deluge of damning news stories about Facebook from multiple outlets this past week. Those came thanks to Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen, who recently leaked thousands of internal documents, including internal employee discussions, memos, research, and presentations, to a consortium of news outlets as part of a project collectively dubbed the “Facebook Papers.” Now that Gizmodo has its mitts on the files, we’re eager to share them with you.

There are a few reasons we haven’t seen all of these documents released publicly — though here at Giz, at least, we are currently discussing options for doing that. First, a bit about the format: Most if not all of the “documents” are actually photos of a computer screen taken with someone’s phone. While unredacted versions were shared by Haugen with the Securities and Exchange Commission as part of her whistleblower complaint, the copies we’re receiving have been redacted by her legal team. All of the internal chats and other documents were redacted to remove the names of “low-level” Facebook employees.

This means Gizmodo is unable to reach out to individual employees for comment regarding the opinions they expressed about the company and the way it’s being run.

The stories that have come out already are just the beginning — expect a lot more of this stuff to be released over the coming weeks. We’re going to do our best to give you guys access to the raw documents as soon as possible (and there are, again, A Lot Of Them), and put them into context.

We expect to receive a new batch of documents daily, but we won’t know anything about them in advance. As we’re poring over them, we’ll be sharing our takeaways here — including links to complete files where possible.

What we want to do is give folks outside of the consortium — and outside of journalism, more generally — access to the same material we’re seeing. Other folks have pointed out that researchers in fields like tech ethics and misinformation deserve this access, as do regulators and everyone else who’s concerned about Facebook’s outsized power. We agree and will release everything we can, as fast as we can.

This story is based on Frances Haugen’s disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which were also provided to Congress in redacted form by her legal team. The redacted versions received by Congress were obtained by a consortium of news organisations, including Gizmodo, the New York Times, Politico, Wired, the Verge, CNN, and dozens of other outlets.