I am Sophie Zhang. At FB, I worked in my spare time to catch state-sponsored troll farms in multiple nations. I became a whistleblower because FB didn't care. Ask me anything.
I'm Sophie Zhang. I was fired from Facebook in September 2020; on my last day, I stayed up in an all-nighter to write a 7.8k word farewell memo that was leaked to the press and went viral on Reddit. I went public with the Guardian on April 12 of this year, because the problems I worked on won't be solved unless I force the issue like this.
In the process of my work at Facebook, I caught state-sponsored troll farms in Honduras and Azerbaijan that I only convinced the company to act on after a year - and was unable to stop the perpetrators from immediately returning afterwards.
In India, I worked on a much smaller case where I found multiple groups of inauthentic activity benefiting multiple major political parties and received clearance to take them down. I took down all but one network - as soon as I realized that it was directly tied to a sitting member of the Lok Sabha, I was suddenly ignored,
In the United States, I played a small role in a case which drew some attention on Reddit, in which a right-wing advertising group close to Turning Point USA was running ads supporting the Green Party in the leadup to the U.S. 2018 midterms. While Facebook eventually decided that the activity was permitted since no policies had been violated, I came forward with the Guardian last month because it appeared that the perpetrators may have misled the FEC - a potential federal crime.
I also wrote an op-ed for Rest of the World about less-sophisticated/attention-getting social media inauthenticity
To be clear, since there was confusion about this in my last AMA, my remit was what Facebook calls inauthentic activity - when fake accounts/pages/etc. are used to do things, regardless of what they do. That is, if I set up a fake account to write "cats are adorable", this is inauthentic regardless of the fact that cats are actually adorable. This is often confused with misinformation [which I did not work on] but actually has no relation.
Please ask me anything. I might not be able to answer every question, but if so, I'll do my best to explain why I can't.
Proof: https://twitter.com/szhang_ds/status/1410696203432468482. I can't include a picture of myself though since "Images are not allowed in IAmA"