Former Facebook employee says Azerbaijani authorities attacking opposition online
Former Facebook employee Sophie Zhang states that the Azerbaijani government is attacking the opposition using cheap and easy bot networks. She believes that Russia, China and Iran are using the same methods.
In an article published by The New York Times, the author, Sheera Frenkel, mentions that Facebook has announced that they are fighting against disinformation in the USA itself.
In other countries, however, the management simply ignores such things, states Sophie Zhang, an ex-employee of the site.
“In the three years I’ve spent at Facebook, I’ve found multiple blatant attempts by foreign national governments to abuse our platform on vast scales to mislead their own citizenry”, Zhang wrote.
Sophie Zhang was fired from Facebook in August, 2020 and left the company at the start of September. She suspects that one of the reasons for their decision was her neglect of her routine duties in favour of focusing on the political activities of false accounts.
Responding to Zhang’s post, Facebook said that they regularly remove coordinated influence campaigns, and that they have a large team working on security.
“Working against coordinated inauthentic behavior is our priority, but we’re also addressing the problems of spam and fake engagement. We investigate each issue carefully, including those that Ms. Zhang raises, before we take action or go out and make claims publicly as a company”, says Liz Bourgeois, a spokeswoman for Facebook.
This news has been much discussed on Azerbaijani social media. The following are some representative comments:
“What kind of bots do they have? They steal your password and break into your account. You really think Facebook doesn’t know about them?”
“It’s typical. No company wants to get in the bad books of a country’s government”.
“The opposition also have bots. Who’s fighting them?