Another Facebook whistleblower says she’s given documents to US law enforcement

Sarah Tew/CNET

Another Facebook whistleblower says she's willing to testify to Congress. In a CNN interview on Sunday, former Facebook data scientist Sophie Zhang again accused the social network of not doing enough to tackle hate and misinformation and focused specifically on government influence campaigns in small and developing countries.

Zhang, who has previously spoken out about Facebook, also said in a tweet Sunday that she had provided "detailed documentation regarding potential criminal violations" to a US law enforcement agency. She declined to tell CNN which agency she gave documents to.

Zhang told CNET she hasn't spoken to or heard from any US lawmakers recently and declined to provide any details about documents she provided to the agency, noting that the investigation is ongoing. 

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Catch up on the biggest news stories in minutes. Delivered on weekdays. Her interview with CNN follows recent allegations from Facebook whistleblower Francis Haugen, who leaked thousands of documents that were used in a Wall Street Journal series in September that exposed how much the social network knows about its effects on users.

In testimony to the US Senate in early October, Haugen alleged that Facebook's products "harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy." She's also expected to meet with Facebook's independent oversight board and to appear before a UK Parliament committee. Facebook last week pushed back on Haugen's testimony, saying it doesn't agree with "her characterization of the many issues she testified about." The social network also contends that The Wall Street Journal mischaracterized its internal research. However, Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president for global affairs and communications, on Sunday said the social network is taking steps to "nudge" teens away from content that "may not be conducive to their well-being." The company has also paused development of Instagram Kids

In a lengthy memo last year seen by BuzzFeed News, Zhang accused Facebook of ignoring fake accounts being used to undermine elections and being slow to react evidence of coordinated influence campaigns. Zhang, who was fired from Facebook, reportedly posted the memo on her last day with the company. She told CNN that Facebook said she was let go because of performance issues.

Facebook said it's invested over £13 billion in safety and security of its platforms, including efforts to take down influence campaigns.

"We have also taken down over 150 networks seeking to manipulate public debate since 2017, and they have originated in over 50 countries, with the majority coming from or focused outside of the US," a Facebook spokesperson said Tuesday in an emailed statement. "Our track record shows that we crack down on abuse abroad with the same intensity that we apply in the US."  

CNET's Queenie Wong contributed to this report.