Last Thursday, BuzzFeed News revealed that an internal Facebook report concluded that the company had failed to prevent the “Stop the Steal” movement from using its platform to subvert the election, encourage violence, and help incite the Jan. 6 attempted coup on the US Capitol.
Titled “Stop the Steal and Patriot Party: The Growth and Mitigation of an Adversarial Harmful Movement,” the report is one of the most important analyses of how the insurrectionist effort to overturn a free and fair US presidential election spread across the world’s largest social network — and how Facebook missed critical warning signs. The report examines how the company was caught flat-footed as the Stop the Steal Facebook group supercharged a movement to undermine democracy, and concludes the company was unprepared to stop people from spreading hate and incitement to violence on its platform.
The report’s authors, who were part of an internal task force studying harmful networks, published the document to Facebook’s internal message board last month, making it broadly available to company employees. But after BuzzFeed News revealed the report’s existence last week, many employees were restricted from accessing it.
“Is there a reason the Workplace Note has been taken down?” one employee wrote on the message board after the report became restricted. “I suspect employees would prefer to read it for themselves and draw their own conclusions.”
“It’s pretty common that critical writing about the company gets removed under some trumped-up excuse if it gains any internal or external traction, it’s not about the public visibility but the morale effects I imagine,” another worker said.
Given the newsworthiness and historical significance of the report and its revelations about the events of Jan. 6, BuzzFeed News is publishing the full text below.