Facebook sent an email to its employees on Tuesday night directing them to preserve records and documents dating back to 2016, noting that multiple governments were launching inquiries into the social media giant.
“As you are probably aware, we’re currently the focus of extensive media coverage based on a swath of internal documents,” the social media giant said in a notice to its employees, according to The New York Times, which obtained the internal communications.
“As is often the case following this kind of reporting, a number of inquiries from governments and legislative bodies have been launched into the company’s operations,” it added.
Facebook’s email to workers said that any type of messaging that only exists for a short period of time and is used for work should be avoided. The company also directed employees to keep any encrypted communications.
“On Tuesday, Facebook sent a legal hold notice to all personnel. Document preservation requests are part of the process of responding to legal inquiries,” a Facebook company spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.
The social media giant also directed its employees not to speak about the legal hold on its internal messaging forum, according to the Times.
Facebook has been mired in a myriad of controversies sparked first by Wall Street Journal reporting on leaked company records, and then a slew of reporting this week from various news organizations on a cache of documents dubbed the "Facebook papers."
These reports have detailed Facebook's internal response to the negative effects of Instagram on younger users, misinformation about COVID-19 on its platform, and the uneven weight given to posts that received angry emojis over “likes.”
Those revelations were based on leaks from former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen, who has testified before lawmakers in the United States and Europe. The company has since taken heat from lawmakers like Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnGOP senators introduce bill targeting Palestinian 'martyr payments' White House announces diplomatic boycott of Beijing Olympics Demand Justice launches ad campaign backing Biden nominee who drew GOP pushback MORE (R-Tenn.) and Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGOP Sen. Braun says abortion laws should be left up to states Klobuchar says 'best way' to protect abortion rights is to codify Roe v. Wade into law Sunday shows preview: Multiple states detect cases of the omicron variant MORE (D-Minn.).
“The time has come for action from all sides to rein in big tech," Klobuchar said in a statement after Haugen's testimony. "We need to revisit the laws and hold these companies accountable when they spread disinformation and target vulnerable users with harmful content."