Facebook critics launch ad campaign calling on internal whistleblowers to come forward

A group that supports breaking up Facebook is calling on the company’s employees to come forward as whistleblowers following media reports of internal strife and questions about the social network’s leadership.

Freedom From Facebook, a coalition of nonprofit groups concerned about Facebook’s market power, announced Tuesday that it would be launching an ad buy on the platform promoting a link to a secure, confidential website where Facebook employees can detail their concerns about the company’s workplace.

“Are you worried about what’s happening inside Facebook? Share your concerns confidentially and anonymously,” the ad will read, with a link to its “safe space for whistleblowers.”

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The new campaign comes after a New York Times report that alleged Facebook executives were reluctant to confront the issue of Russian disinformation efforts on their platforms during the 2016 presidential race and detailed how a firm hired by the company conducted a smear campaign against Facebook’s critics, linking some of them to the billionaire liberal donor George Soros in ways that are seen by some as anti-Semitic.

Subsequent media reports paint Zuckerberg as taking an increasingly aggressive stance, saying in one question-and-answer session with employees that Facebook would retaliate against workers who leak to the media.

Facebook, which didn’t respond to a request for comment, has pushed back on the Times report, and Zuckerberg has defended his leadership team.

“I've said many times before that we were too slow to spot Russian interference, too slow to understand it and too slow to get on top of it,” Zuckerberg told reporters last week. “And we certainly stumbled along the way. But to suggest that we weren't interested in knowing the truth or that we wanted to hide what we knew or that we tried to prevent investigations is simply untrue.”