Meta has made cuts to its teams that tackle disinformation and coordinated troll and harassment campaigns on its platforms, people with direct knowledge of the situation told CNN, raising concerns ahead of the pivotal 2024 elections in the US and around the world.
Several members of the team that countered mis- and disinformation in the 2022 US midterms were laid off last fall and this spring, a person familiar with the matter said. The staffers are part of a global team that works on Meta’s efforts to counter disinformation campaigns seeking to undermine confidence in or sow confusion around elections.
The news comes as Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is celebrating the unparalleled success of its new Threads platform, surpassing 100 million users just five days after launch and opening a potential new avenue for bad actors.
A Meta spokesperson did not specify, when asked, how many staffers had been cut from its teams working on elections. In a statement to CNN on Monday night, the spokesperson said, “Protecting the US 2024 elections is one of our top priorities, and our integrity efforts continue to lead the industry.”
The spokesperson did not answer CNN questions about what additional resources had been deployed to monitor and moderate its new platform. Instead, Meta said the social media giant had invested $16 billion in technology and teams since 2016 to protect its users.
But the decision to lay off staffers ahead of 2024, when elections will not only take place in the United States but also in Taiwan, Ukraine, India and elsewhere, has raised concerns among those with direct knowledge of Meta’s election integr