“As of September 2021, we have been the subject of government inquiries and requests concerning the allegations of a former employee and the publication of internal company documents concerning, among other things, our algorithms, our statistics on the advertising and users, and content enforcement practices, as well as misinformation and other unwanted activity on our platform and the well-being of users, ”the company said in its quarterly results report to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The file did not specify whether the government’s “inquiries and requests” referred to known inquiries by the US Senate and UK Parliament, or to previously unconfirmed inquiries by federal agencies in the US and governments overseas. .
Facebook declined to provide details of the disclosure. “We are always ready to answer questions from regulators and will continue to cooperate with government investigations,” spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement to CNN Business.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has reportedly started “examining” the whistleblower’s revelations, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. In particular, the agency is reportedly investigating whether Facebook could have violated its $ 5 billion agreement with the agency in 2019 over the company’s data privacy practices.
Haugen, a former Facebook product manager who left the company in May, provided the documents as evidence to support at least eight complaints to the SEC alleging that Facebook (misled investors and the public about issues that surfaced internally. She also provided redacted versions of the documents to Congress. The leaked documents also formed the basis of the Wall Street Journal’s “Facebook Files” series and, more recently, a series of reports from a consortium of news agencies, collectively referred to as the “Facebook Papers”. CNN is a member of the consortium. )
The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether it had launched an investigation based on Haugen’s complaint and disclosures from another anonymous former Facebook employee turned whistleblower that emerged on Friday.
The documents provide the most in-depth examination to date of many of Facebook’s biggest issues and how they’ve been discussed internally – an unprecedented look at the nearly $ 890 billion company, of which the apps are now used by more than 3.6 billion people around the world.
Facebook has aggressively rebuffed many of Haugen’s claims and much of the documentary reports, which the company says misrepresents its research and efforts. “Yes, we are a business and we make a profit, but the idea that we do it at the expense of the safety or well-being of people ignores where our own business interests lie,” said a spokesperson for the company in a press release.
Despite the disclosure – and the wave of critical media coverage of the company – it’s not clear Facebook shareholders are concerned. After Facebook announced on Monday that its quarterly profit reached more than $ 9 billion, the company’s shares rose 3% in after-hours trading.
Facebook shares are currently down nearly 11% from last month, but that may reflect investor concerns about the impact of Apple’s privacy changes on the social media giant’s advertising business.