NYT: Facebook warns whistleblower will allege on “60 Minutes” it contributed to Capitol riot

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A Facebook executive said in a defiant internal memo that a former employee will accuse the company of contributing to the U.S. Capitol riot, the New York Times first reported Saturday.

Why it matters: Facebook appears to be launching a pre-emptive strike against the whistleblower ahead of a CBS “60 Minutes” interview airing Sunday and her scheduled appearance at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

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  • She will accuse the tech giant on “60 Minutes” of contributing to polarization in the U.S., according to Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, in the memo obtained by the NYT.

  • Clegg states that the program will “suggest that the extraordinary steps we took for the 2020 elections were relaxed too soon and contributed to the horrific events of January 6th in the Capitol.”

Driving the news: The whistleblower will reveal her identity on “60 Minutes” and outline allegations based on thousands of pages of internal research she provided the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to CBS.

  • She claims she can “prove Facebook is lying to the public and investors about the effectiveness of its campaigns to eradicate hate, violence and misinformation from its platforms,” per CBS.

  • Facebook has been fielding criticism over its internal research into Instagram’s negative impact on teenage girls after the whistleblower leaked a trove of documents to the Wall Street Journal.

What they’re saying: “What evidence there is simply does not support the idea that Facebook, or social media more generally, is the primary cause of polarization,” Clegg states in the memo, sent Friday, according to the NYT.

What to watch: Clegg is due to appear on the CNN’s “Reliable Sources” on Sunday morning.

Go deeper: Facebook’s secrecy boomerang

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