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Facebook chose ‘benefit over security’, knew its products were spreading hatred: whistleblower

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The whistleblower who shared a trove of Facebook documents alleging the social media giant knew its products were spreading hatred and harming children’s mental health, revealed her identity in a televised interview on Sunday, And accused the company of choosing “profit over safety”.

Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist from Iowa, has worked for companies including Google and Pinterest – but said in an interview with the CBS News show “60 Minutes” that Facebook was “much worse” than it was before.

He demanded to regulate the company. “Facebook has shown time and again that it chooses profit over security. It’s subsidizing, it’s paying its profits with our security,” Haugen said.

“The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world,” she said.

The world’s biggest social media platform is embroiled in a firestorm brought on by Haugen, who posing as an unnamed whistleblower shared documents with US lawmakers and The Wall Street Journal detailing how Facebook knew it, including Instagram Her products are harming young girls, especially around body image.

US Senator Richard Blumenthal, responding to the interview ahead of Haugen’s appearance to testify in Congress next week, said in a statement: “Facebook’s actions make it clear that we cannot trust the police themselves. We need to rely on strong oversight. should consider.”

In a “60 Minutes” interview, Haugen explained how the company’s News Feed algorithm is optimized for the content that receives feedback.

The company’s own research shows that “it is easier to propel people to anger than other emotions,” Haugen said.

“Facebook has realized that if they changed the algorithm to be safer, people would spend less time on the site, they would click on fewer ads, they would make less money.”

During the 2020 US presidential election, she said, the company realized the threat that such content presented and turned to security systems to mitigate it.

But “as soon as the election is over, they shut them back down, or they change the settings to the same thing as before, to prioritize development over security, and that really feels like a betrayal of democracy to me, ” He said.

“No one is malevolent on Facebook,” she said, noting that co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg was not drawn to the platform “hateful.” But, Haugen said, the incentives are “the wrong way.”

‘ridiculous’

Facebook’s vice president of policy and global affairs, Nick Clegg, vehemently insisted that its platforms are “toxic” for teens, days after a tense congressional hearing in which US lawmakers criticized the company’s impact on young users’ mental health. Asked about the company.

While Haugen did not draw a straight line between the decision to withdraw security systems and the January 6 US Capitol riot, “60 Minutes” noted that social networks were used by some of the organizers of that violence.

During an appearance on CNN, Clegg dismissed the link.

“I think the January 6th claim can be explained by social media, I think it’s ridiculous,” Clegg told the broadcaster.

polarization

The New York Times reported Saturday that Clegg sought to pre-empt Haugen’s interview by writing a 1,500-word memo alerting employees to the “misleading” allegations.

Facebook has faced criticism that it fosters social problems, with Clegg saying it should not rest at Facebook’s feet. But he acknowledged that people with pre-existing problems may not benefit from social media use.

He also protested the Wall Street Journal reporting in an explosive series that Facebook’s own research warned of the harm the photo-sharing app Instagram could do to the well-being of teenage girls.

“It hasn’t been proven by our research or anyone else that Instagram is bad or toxic for all teens, but Facebook’s research will continue,” Clegg told CNN.

Faced with pressure, the company previously announced that it would suspend development of a version of Instagram for users under the age of 13, but would not abandon it.


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