Facebook has ordered employees to keep all their emails and documents relating to its businesses since 2016 after government inquiries were opened into the under-fire social media firm's operations.

A company-wide email sent on Tuesday night told staff to 'preserve internal documents and communications since 2016' in a move known as a 'legal hold'.

Employees were told that encrypted messages should be kept and they should not discuss or post about the order on the company's internal message board.

Documents related to WhatsApp, augmented reality studio Spark AR and the New Product Experimentation group, an internal incubator, were not included in the legal hold.

But WhatsApp messages relating to other topics have to be preserved, staff were told.

It comes following bombshell claims from former employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen that the tech giant ignored internal complaints from staff for years to put profits first, 'lied' to investors and shielded CEO Mark Zuckerberg from public scrutiny. 

Facebook has ordered employees to keep all their emails and documents relating to its businesses since 2016

Facebook has ordered employees to keep all their emails and documents relating to its businesses since 2016

She claimed Facebook knowingly spread misinformation, fuelled hate speech, failed to crack down on abuses spread on the platform and exacerbated body image issues, particularly among teenage girls.

In the email sent to employees, obtained by the New York Times, Facebook said: 'As you are probably aware, we're currently the focus of extensive media coverage based on a swath of internal documents. 

'As is often the case following this kind of reporting, a number of inquiries from governments and legislative bodies have been launched into the company's operations.'


Facebook acknowledged to shareholders this week it is facing 'government investigations' in relation to the leaked documents.

It is not known whether the inquiries refer to the US Senate or the UK Parliament.

Haugen filed her complaints this week to the Securities and Exchange Commission and has also testified in Congress and to British MPs on Monday. She also provided redacted versions to Congress. 

It comes following bombshell claims from former employee turned whistleblower Frances Haugen that the tech giant ignored internal complaints from staff for years to put profits first (pictured outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Monday)

It comes following bombshell claims from former employee turned whistleblower Frances Haugen that the tech giant ignored internal complaints from staff for years to put profits first (pictured outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Monday)

The SEC has not yet confirmed whether it has launched an investigation based on her complaints. 

But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has begun scrutinizing the leaked internal research and said it will closely examine whether the company broke any agreements in the $5billion settlement reached with the agency in 2019 over privacy concerns.

Facebook agreed to the massive settlement in response to its violation of privacy rules through its work with Cambridge Analytica, a research firm that bought the information of tens of millions of users without their knowledge.

The company's board agreed to create an independent privacy committee that removes 'unfettered control by Zuckerberg over decisions affecting user privacy' and also agreed to have greater oversight over third-party apps, Reuters reported.

'Facebook is subsidising hate' says whistleblower Frances Haugen
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That settlement also absolved Facebook and its top officials of any other consumer-protection violations known to the FTC at the time, though Democrats in the agency said the settlement did not go far enough or require a large enough fine, per the Wall Street Journal.

Despite the deal Facebook made, Haugen's massive trove may prove that not much has changed since the company's Cambridge Analytica scandal.

When asked for comment on the FTC probe, a Facebook spokesperson sent a statement to DailyMail.com that said, 'We are always ready to answer regulators' questions and will continue to cooperate with government inquiries.' 

The allegations in the leaked documents have prompted lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic to call for regulation of the tech firm.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn) said the leaked documents show Facebook bosses 'chronically ignored serious internal alarms, choosing to put profits over people' and said the company is 'obviously unable to police itself.'

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called for a new federal agency to protect personal data and ensure privacy

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called for a new federal agency to protect personal data and ensure privacy

Meanwhile Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called for a new federal agency to protect personal data and ensure privacy.

In an op-ed for NBC News, she wrote: 'The approach companies like Facebook take to data is motivated not by protecting our privacy but by growing their profit and power.'

Her proposed agency would review 'high-risk' data practices and write new rules for data privacy, she suggested.

Legislation in the UK and the EU is further along with draft bills expected in early 2021 to introduce independent digital regulation.

In the Facebook papers, the company was accused of being used to traffic women in the Middle East which bosses failed to eradicate despite warnings. 

After publicly promising to crack down, Facebook acknowledged in internal documents that it was 'under-enforcing on confirmed abusive activity' that saw Filipina maids complaining on the social media site of being abused.

The documents also reveal that Mark Zuckerberg personally agreed to requests from Vietnam's ruling Communist Party to censor anti-government dissidents.

It was also warned that Instagram 'may never be safe for 14-year-olds' because it can turn them into addicts and school bullying follows them home.

Haugen claimed the tech firm regularly places profits over safety, leading to hate speech being spread because of the algorithms that prioritise engagement.

It comes after Facebook executives were accused of being 'drunk on power' in internal messages after they attempted to block messages of support for Kenosha gunman Kyle Rittenhouse.

Kyle Rittenhouse, left, was 17 when he shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020. He was part of a vigilante group claiming they were defending property from arson and rioting

Kyle Rittenhouse, left, was 17 when he shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020. He was part of a vigilante group claiming they were defending property from arson and rioting

Rittenhouse, a right-wing vigilante, shot and killed two Black Lives Matter protesters amid unrest following the shooting by police of Jacob Blake, in August 2020.

Rittenhouse, who was 17 at the time, was seen as a hero by some on the right, who insisted he was on the streets to prevent rioting by the BLM activists.

Facebook took down many pro-Rittenhouse posts, arguing that they were in violation of the site's rules which banned the promotion of violence.

Facebook's rules ban praise and support of a mass shooter, or a mass shooting itself.

During an internal discussion, most employees agreed with the decision. 

Rittenhouse has been charged with murder. He is seen on Monday, ahead of his trial, which begins next week

Rittenhouse has been charged with murder. He is seen on Monday, ahead of his trial, which begins next week

To add to his woes, Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have been sued over alleged racist and homophobic abuse inflicted on two staffers by their former household security boss, which is said to have included a dig at Meghan Markle.   

Mia King, a black LGBR woman who served as a security operations assistant, and a John Doe, a gay and disabled man who worked as a household operations manager, claimed they were subject to racist and homophobic abuse by the billionaire couple's former head of security Liam Booth, Business Insider reports.   

In their twin lawsuit, filed in San Francisco County, King said Booth would often call her 'ghetto' and complain that Meghan Markle, who is bi-racial, 'polluted the royal blood line' following her marriage to Prince Harry

Doe also claimed that Booth, a former Secret Service agent whose race has not been disclosed, allegedly made constant comments about his homosexuality and slapped his groin at a sushi restaurant in 2018. 

Pictured, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan with their family

Pictured, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan with their family

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