Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has grown frustrated with employees who leak information to Project Veritas, as shown in a video leaked to Project Veritas.
The guerrilla journalism outfit released a video Friday showing Mr. Zuckerberg and top executives in a Zoom-style discussion on the recent leak of information about Facebook’s program to suppress “vaccine hesitancy,” which resulted in the firing of data technician Morgan Kahmann.
Mr. Zuckerberg said in the video that “over the last year there have been more leaks than I think all of us would have wanted.”
“There are a lot of questions that we get a lot of time around, you know, when people leak stuff, do we find them?” asked Mr. Zuckerberg. “I’ve been clear that we have a number of efforts to find people and we terminate people and pursue—the recourse that we have when we identify them. In this case, we did find them.”
During the conversation, which Project Veritas said took place on Thursday, Mr. Zuckerberg said that “we generally don’t talk about it or go out of our way when we find folks who leak, but we do a reasonably good job of this.”
“It’s kind of the flip side of the coin for having an open culture is we can be open and we can share a lot of stuff, but we also need to be very good at rooting out people who are leaking stuff,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “You know, I think over the last year there have been more leaks than I think all of us would have wanted, but we also find a lot of the folks and terminate them.”
Mr. Kahmann was one of two Facebook “insiders” who were featured in a Project Veritas expose released May 24 about the program to demote posts that express negative views about the COVID-19 vaccines, even if the information conveyed is accurate.
Mr. Kahmann, who leaked documents about the tech giant’s tier system to reduce the reach of “vaccine hesitancy” posts, was suspended and then fired on May 28, as shown on a Zoom call that was crashed by Project Veritas president James O’Keefe.
The Thursday video showed Heidi Swartz, Facebook deputy general counsel, sending a signal to would-be leakers, stressing that “when we find leakers, which we often do, we have a zero-tolerance policy. So that means we fire them.”
“For those of you who don’t know the context around this question, Project Veritas released a video last week alleging that they had uncovered a new effort to censor vaccine concerns globally,” Ms. Swartz said. “It was based on leaked documents about a health integrity program that we have in place that combats vaccine hesitancy by taking a hard stance against vaccine information—misinformation.”
She said that the Project Veritas incident shows that leaks are “always bad for the company,” noting that they often expose the names of individual staffers, but that even so, some employees are pro-leak.
“I know some people here feel that there are good leaks and there are bad leaks, but they’re all damaging, and they’re not the right way to bring about change, especially at a company like this where people are free to share their opinion and to raise questions to Mark here at Q&A’s,” she said.
Ms. Swartz added: “You may think you’re leaking because you want to hold leadership accountable, or that you’re on the right side of history, but that is very subjective, and you may not have all the information to make that call.”
Facebook has said that its effort to suppress “vaccine hesitancy” was posted publicly on its blog, which Project Veritas disputes.
Facebook announced in March that it would seek to reduce “vaccine misinformation” on its platform and help connect people to vaccinations through its apps as part of a partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital.
“Building on our goal to promote authoritative information about COVID-19 vaccines, we have implemented several temporary measures to further limit the spread of potentially harmful COVID-19 and vaccine information during the pandemic,” said the company in a March 15 post.