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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will urge US Senate to regulate the company

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Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen will on Tuesday urge the US Congress to regulate the social media giant, which she plans to liken to tobacco companies, which have denied it for decades, according to Reuters. According to ready testimony seen, smoking causes harm to health.

“When we realized that tobacco companies were hiding the harm it caused, the government took action. When we thought cars with seatbelts were safe, the government took action,” said Haugen’s written testimony to the Senate Commerce Subcommittee. to be given. “I beg you to do the same here.”

Haugen will tell the panel that Facebook executives routinely choose advantage over user safety.

“The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safe and won’t make the necessary changes because they put their huge profits before the people. Congress needs action,” she would say. “As long as Facebook is operating in the dark, it is accountable to no one. And it will continue to make choices that go against the common good.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar, who was on the subcommittee, said she would ask Haugen about the January 6 attack on the US Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

Klobuchar said in an emailed comment, “I’m also particularly interested to hear from him whether he thinks Facebook has done enough to warn law enforcement and the public about January 6th and whether Facebook has generated election misinformation.” The security measures have been removed as it was causing financial loss to the company.” .

The senator also said she wanted to discuss Facebook’s algorithms, and whether they “promote harmful and divisive content.”

Haugen, who served as a product manager on Facebook’s civil misinformation team, was the whistleblower who used documents used in a Wall Street Journal investigation and a Senate hearing on Instagram’s harm to teen girls.

Facebook owns Instagram as well as WhatsApp.

The company did not respond to a request for comment.

Haugen said that “Facebook’s closed design means it has no oversight — even from its own oversight board, which is as blind as the public.”

This makes it impossible for regulators to act as checks, he said.

Her testimony said, “Facebook’s inability to see the actual systems and confirm that Facebook’s systems work like they say the Department of Transportation controls the cars they drive on the highway.” “Imagine if a regulator couldn’t ride in a car, pump its wheels, do a car crash test, or even know that seat belts might be present.”

Journal stories based on Facebook’s internal presentations and emails show that when the company made changes to its content algorithm, it contributed to increased online polarization; Failed to take steps to reduce vaccine hesitation; And was aware that Instagram harms teenage girls’ mental health.

Haugen said Facebook has done little to prevent its platform from being used by people who plan violence.

“The result is a system that fuels division, extremism and polarization – and undermines societies around the world. In some cases, this dangerous online interaction has led to real violence that harms and even harms people. That kills too.”

Facebook was used by people planning mass killings in Myanmar and on January 6 it was attacked by Trump supporters who were determined to toss the 2020 election results.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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