RFOB Releases Shadow Earnings Report — Facebook Quarterly Harms Index

Real Facebook Oversight Board
3 min readApr 28, 2021

Investor Guide Tracks Coups Incited, Data Breaches, Whistleblowers Punished, and Key Questions for Shareholders

APRIL 28th; How did Facebook perform for its shareholders in Q1? Ahead of Facebook’s quarterly earnings call, the Real Facebook Oversight Board has released its “shadow” quarterly report — the first Facebook Quarterly Harms Index. (Link here) The index asks key questions for shareholders.

From the Real Facebook Oversight Board’s report:

This quarter’s round-up includes destabilizing national governments, misleading the press and public and allowing user data to be taken without their knowledge then failing to notify said users or the relevant data regulators. The public relations strategy — outlined in an internal email forwarded by accident to a Belgian journalist — noted the objective was to intentionally obfuscate, using social media engagement levels as indicators of whether they should act instead of legal or ethical considerations.

“If you’re happy to be making hefty returns by investing in a company used by white supremacists attempting a coup in the US, silencing workers seeking to minimize harm on the platform and allowing the personal information of 533 million people (possibly including you) to be taken and shared an infinite number of times without consent,” said a spokesperson for the Real Facebook Oversight Board, “then Facebook is a definite BUY.”

Highlights of Q1 from the report:

  • Deep involvement in January 6th as the platform of choice for insurrectionists
  • Turning itself off to strong-arm a democratically elected government in Australia
  • A 533 million user data breach
  • Overstating the reach of advertising and user information to drive profit
  • Punishing employees of conscience to maintain revenue, as seen in the Sophie Zhang case
  • Ensuring an easier user experience for pedophiles and sex traffickers and a more addictive social media experience for children with the announcement of an Instagram for under 13 year olds.

The Real Facebook Oversight Board urged the press and shareholders to ask critical questions of Facebook:

  • Will there be a full and transparent audit of the platform’s role in January 6th?
  • Why has Facebook not notified half a billion users [that] their name, phone number, and email address was breached in 2019?
  • Does Facebook have a table of countries from most important to least important in terms of how it prioritises issues around election security?
  • What is the criteria for banning someone from Facebook?

“As crises mount, Facebook continues to barrel ahead, believing itself too big to fail,” said a spokesperson for the Real Facebook Oversight Board. “At some point, these bad acts will catch up with the company and its shareholders. If you’re an investor in Facebook, do you want to be left holding the bag when that happens?

Again, the Quarterly Harms Index is linked here.

The Real Facebook Oversight Board will provide a regular quarterly report and analysis of Facebook moving forward.



Real Facebook Oversight Board

An emergency response to the ongoing harms on Facebook’s platforms from leading global scholars, experts and advocates.