Facebook Papers: Company takes heat from lawmakers over leaked docs

Facebook Papers leak leads to harsh criticism of tech giant

Several lawmakers shared their reactions to the Facebook Papers – a trove of leaked documents revealing the company's inner workings – and cited them as proof that the tech giant has become unaccountable. 

Republicans and Democrats have spoken out on the recent revelations regarding Facebook, with lawmakers in both the House and Senate blasting the social media giant over the leaked internal documents.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., blasted Facebook for discriminating against "conservative news sources," telling FOX Business in a Monday email the company is doing so to give a smoke screen to Democrat politicians.


"Facebook discriminates against conservative news sources, not because of policy violations, but because Facebook wants to protect Democratic politicians," Cotton said. "If Facebook is going to act as an arm of the Democratic Party, we’ll treat them like one."

Reports on the whistleblower content have illustrated issues at the market behemoth, such as the adverse, impactful effect Instagram reportedly has on the psyche of teenage girls.

"The huge document dump about Facebook reveals that the company is beset with problem after problem, yet it still brings in $100 billion a year. No company can bring in that kind of money with those kinds of problems unless it’s a monopoly. It’s time that Congress take seriously the need to break up Big Tech," Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., told FOX Business. 

Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., also took Facebook to task over the reports, telling FOX Business that the tech giant has "proven themselves cavalier" in their operations and called for them to be broken up. 

"Facebook has repeatedly proven themselves cavalier with their operating practices and procedures, from its censorship of conservatives to its internal suppression of harms caused by the platform," Cawthorn said. "It's time to break up big tech and break the hold they have over the American people. They've gone unchecked for far too long."

Former company product manager Frances Haugen ignited the Facebook firestorm earlier this month when she blew the whistle on the tech giant's alleged exploitation of users to increase their bottom line.


One document shared and reviewed by FOX Business and a media consortium of 16 other U.S. news outlets suggests that employees raised concerns in 2018 that the company was exploiting its users. 

"It's not a secret we've often resorted to aggressive tactics in the name of growth and we've been pretty unapologetic about it," an unidentified Facebook employee wrote in an internal group known as "Let's Fix Facebook." 

"Many employees have called out these tactics as hostile and disrespectful to our users, and the response has generally been, that our care metrics weren't moved [in other words we could get away with them]. Today, the light has changed and all these tactics are being subject to the highest level of scrutiny fueling the narrative that Facebook seeks profits by exploiting its users."

The trove of documents from Haugen was given to media outlets through a congressional source and the documents are partially redacted. Some of the documents included have been previously reported on by The Wall Street Journal, which has published its own series of reports, dubbed the Facebook Files.

Drew Pusateri, a spokesperson for Facebook, told Fox Business in a Monday email that the company has been pushing for updated Internet regulations, themselves.

"For two and a half years we have been calling for updated regulations ourselves," Pusateri said. "Every day, we make difficult decisions on where to draw lines between free expression and harmful speech, privacy, security, and other issues, and we use both our own research and research from outside experts to improve our products and policies."

"But we should not be making these decisions on our own which is why for years we’ve been advocating for updated regulations where democratic governments set industry standards to which we can all adhere," he continued.

Fox Business’ Lucas Manfredi contributed reporting.