The Lawfare Podcast: What Is Integrity in Social Media?

By Jen Patja Howell
Thursday, November 4, 2021, 5:01 AM

There’s been a lot of news recently about Facebook, and a lot of that news has focused on the frustration of employees assigned to the platform’s civic integrity team or other corners of the company focused on ensuring user trust and safety. If you read reporting on the documents leaked by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, you’ll see again and again how these Facebook employees raised concerns about the platform and proposed solutions only to be shot down by executives.

That’s why it’s an interesting time to talk to two former Facebook employees who both worked on the platform’s civic integrity team. This week on Arbiters of Truth, our series on the online information ecosystem, Evelyn Douek and Quinta Jurecic spoke with Sahar Massachi and Jeff Allen, who recently unveiled a new project, the Integrity Institute, aimed at building better social media. The goal is to bring the expertise of current and former tech employees to inform the ongoing discussion around if and how to regulate big social media platforms. They dug into the details of what they feel the Institute can add to the conversation, the nitty-gritty of some of the proposals around transparency and algorithms that the Institute has already set out, and what the mood is among people who work in platform integrity right now.