Facebook is set for another swift take on Congress on Tuesday, as a whistleblower who left with thousands of internal documents told lawmakers how the company pushed for higher profits while being cavalier about user safety Gave.
Frances Haugen, former product manager for Facebook’s civil misinformation team, said the social media giant keeps its algorithms and operations secret.
“The crux of the issue is that no one understands Facebook’s disastrous choices better than Facebook, because only Facebook gets to see under the hood,” she said in written testimony ready for the hearing.
“Transparency is an important starting point for effective regulation,” she said in testimony to be given to a Senate Commerce subcommittee. “On this basis, we can create sensible rules and standards to address consumer harm, illegal content, data protection, anti-competitive practices, algorithmic systems and more.”
In an era when bipartisanship is rare on Capitol Hill, the subcommittee’s top Democrats and Republicans agreed on the need for major changes at Facebook.
Richard Blumenthal, chairman of the subcommittee, noted that Facebook’s leadership had rejected recommendations to make its sites safer, including Instagram.
“There are a lot of teens who are looking in the mirror right now and feeling bad about their self-image and their body. Mark Zuckerberg should look in the mirror,” he said in a television interview on Tuesday.
The top Republican, Marsha Blackburn, is expected to say in the opening remarks that Facebook turned a blind eye to children under the age of 13 on its sites. “It’s clear that Facebook prioritizes profit over the well-being of our children.”
Haugen appeared this week to reveal that she was the one who used documents used in a Wall Street Journal investigation and a Senate hearing on Instagram’s damages to teenage girls.
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
Journal stories show that the company contributed to the increase in online polarization when it made changes to its content algorithm; Failed to take steps to reduce vaccine hesitation; And was aware that Instagram harms teenage girls’ mental health.
Haugen said Facebook has also done little to prevent its platform from being used by people who plan violence.
Facebook was used by people planning mass killings in Myanmar and the US Capitol was attacked on January 6 by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, who were determined to tout the 2020 election results.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)