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Facebook Tells Employees to Keep Communications for Legal Reasons – The New York Times

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Facebook has told employees to “preserve internal documents and communications since 2016” that pertain to its businesses because governments and legislative bodies have started inquiries into its operations, according to a company email sent on Tuesday night.

The move, known as a “legal hold,” follows intense media, legal and regulatory scrutiny over the social network’s harms. Lawmakers and the public are up in arms after Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee turned whistle-blower, provided thousands of internal documents to lawmakers and the media showing how much the company knew about some of its ill effects, such as spreading misinformation and exacerbating body image issues in some teenagers.

Those files, known as the Facebook Papers, were initially published by The Wall Street Journal.

“As you are probably aware, we’re currently the focus of extensive media coverage based on a swath of internal documents,” Facebook said in the email to employees, which was obtained by The New York Times. “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.”

In the Facebook Papers, company researchers debated how to fix many of the issues that arose in some of its products over the years. Over time, Facebook’s core features — such as Likes, shares, groups, recommendations — were not only used to expand the company, but were manipulated by some to harm users, the documents showed. Many Facebook employees wrestled with how to rein in the fallout, according to the documents.

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Ms. Haugen has filed whistle-blower complaints to the Securities and Exchange Commission. She also testified in Congress this month and spoke to British lawmakers on Monday.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed the legal hold was sent to employees on Tuesday evening, but declined to elaborate on what caused the action. “Document preservation requests are part of the process of responding to legal inquiries,” she said.

Facebook has previously issued legal directions to employees. Last year, after the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general sued Facebook for illegally crushing its competitors, the company advised workers to avoid discussing issues related to the litigation and required them to take online training courses to understand competition compliance policies.

The company is also involved in an online ads price-fixing investigation with Google as part of an antitrust lawsuit against the search giant filed by 10 state attorneys general last year.

Facebook has also tried clamping down on employee leaks. This month, it told workers that it would make internal groups focused on platform and election safety private. That would make it harder for them to see discussions related to those topics and limit participation.

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Understand the Facebook Papers


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A tech giant in trouble. The leak of internal documents by a former Facebook employee has provided an intimate look at the operations of the secretive social media company and renewed calls for better regulations of the company’s wide reach into the lives of its users.

“These are the actions of a company attempting to resist scrutiny, not embrace transparency,” Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat of Connecticut who has led a Senate subcommittee inquiry into Facebook, wrote in a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive about the action.

In Tuesday’s email, Facebook told employees to preserve everything since Jan. 1, 2016. It also advised them that encrypted messages should be preserved and noted that they should stay away from ephemeral messaging for work purposes until further notice.

There was no “specific action at this time,” the email said, but employees should not discuss or post about the legal hold anywhere on Workplace, the company’s internal message board.

Not all aspects of Facebook’s business were bound by the legal hold, according to the email. The company told employees that documents solely related to WhatsApp, its messaging service; Spark AR, its augmented reality studio; and the New Product Experimentation group, an internal incubator, were excluded from the legal hold.

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“You do not need to preserve documents or communications that are exclusively about WhatsApp as a company product,” the email said. “You must preserve all WhatsApp messages related to other topics.”

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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Facebook Owner Meta Launches New Platform, Safety Hub to Protect Women in India

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Meta (formerly Facebook) on Thursday announced a slew of steps to protect woman users on its platform, including the launch of StopNCII.org in India that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

Meta has also launched the Women’s Safety Hub, which will be available in Hindi and 11 other Indian languages, that will enable more women users in India to access information about tools and resources that can help them make the most of their social media experience, while staying safe online.

This initiative by Meta will ensure women do not face a language barrier in accessing information Karuna Nain, director (global safety policy) at Meta Platforms, told reporters here.

“Safety is an integral part of Meta’s commitment to building and offering a safe online experience across the platforms and over the years the company has introduced several industry leading initiatives to protect users online.

“Furthering our effort to bolster the safety of users, we are bringing in a number of initiatives to ensure online safety of women on our platforms,” she added.

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StopNCII.org is a platform that aims to combat the spread of non-consensual intimate images (NCII).

“It gives victims control. People can come to this platform proactively, hash their intimate videos and images, share their hashes back with the platform and participating companies,” Nain said.

She explained that the platform doesn’t receive any photos and videos, and instead what they get is the hash or unique digital fingerprint/unique identifier that tells the company that this is a known piece of content that is violating. “We can proactively keep a lookout for that content on our platforms and once it”s uploaded, our review team check what”s really going on and take appropriate action if it violates our policies,” she added.

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In partnership with UK Revenge Porn Helpline, StopNCII.org builds on Meta’s NCII Pilot, an emergency programme that allows potential victims to proactively hash their intimate images so they can”t be proliferated on its platforms.

The first-of-its-kind platform, has partnered with global organisations to support the victims of NCII. In India, the platform has partnered with organisations such as Social Media Matters, Centre for Social Research, and Red Dot Foundation.

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Nain added that the company is hopeful that this becomes an industrywide initiative, so that victims can just come to this one central place to get help and support and not have to go to each and every tech platform, one by one to get help and support.

Also, Bishakha Datta (executive editor of Point of View) and Jyoti Vadehra from Centre for Social Research are the first Indian members in Meta”s Global Women”s Safety Expert Advisors. The group comprises 12 other non-profit leaders, activists, and academic experts from different parts of the world and consults Meta in the development of new policies, products and programmes to better support women on its apps.

“We are confident that with our ever-growing safety measures, women will be able to enjoy a social experience which will enable them to learn, engage and grow without any challenges.

“India is an important market for us and bringing Bishakha and Jyoti onboard to our Women”s Safety Expert Advisory Group will go a long way in further enhancing our efforts to make our platforms safer for women in India,” Nain said.

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Facebook Adds New Trend Insights in Creator Studio, Which Could Help Shape Your Posting Strategy

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Facebook’s looking to provide more content insight within Creator Studio with the rollout of a new ‘Inspiration Hub’ element, which highlights trending content and hashtags within categories related to your business Page.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

As you can see in these screenshots, posted by social media expert Matt Navarra, when it becomes available to you, you’ll be able to access the new Inspiration Hub from the Home tab in Creator Studio.

At the right side of the screen, you can see the first of the new insights, with trending hashtags and videos from the last 24 hours, posted by Pages similar to yours, displayed above a ‘See more’ prompt.

When you tap through to the new hub, you’ll have a range of additional filters to check out trending content from across Facebook, including Page category, content type, region, and more.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

That could be hugely valuable in learning what Facebook users are responding to, and what people within your target market are engaging with in the app.

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The Hub also includes insights into trending hashtags, within your chosen timeframe, which may further assist in tapping into trending discussions.

Facebook Inspiration Hub

How valuable hashtags are on Facebook is still up for debate, but you’ll also note that you can filter the displayed results by platform, so you can additionally display Instagram hashtag trends as well, which could be very valuable in maximizing your reach.

Much of this type of info has been available within CrowdTangle, Facebook’s analytics platform for journalists, for some time, but not everyone can access CrowdTangle data, which could make this an even more valuable proposition for many marketers.

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Of course, overall performance really relates to your own creative, and thinking through the action that you want your audience to take when reading your posts. But in terms of detecting new content trends, including hashtag usage, caption length, videos versus image posts, and more, there’s a lot that could be gleaned from these tools and filters.

It’s a significant analytics addition – we’ve asked Facebook for more info on the rollout of the new option, and whether it’s already beyond test mode, etc. We’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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