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Facebook will spark further unrest, says whistleblower

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Francis Haugen said the social network saw security as a cost center. (file)

London:

Facebook will fuel more violent unrest around the world because of the way its algorithms are designed to promote divisive content, whistleblower Frances Haugen told the British parliament on Monday.

Haugen, a former product manager of Facebook’s civil misinformation team who has turned whistleblower, appeared before a parliamentary select committee in the UK that is investigating plans to regulate social media companies.

She said the social network saw security as a cost center, lionized a start-up culture where it was good to cut corners, and said it was “undoubtedly” making hate worse.

“The events we are seeing around the world, things like Myanmar and Ethiopia, are early chapters because engagement-based rankings do two things: one, it prioritizes and amplifies divisive and polarizing extreme content and two. focuses,” she said. said.

Facebook declined to immediately comment in response to Haugen’s appearance on the parliamentary committee.

Haugen told a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing in October that Facebook has devised ways for users to scroll, even if it is detrimental to their well-being, putting benefits before the public.

She also said she provided documents used in the Wall Street Journal investigation and a Senate hearing on the harms of Instagram to teenage girls. She compared the stage to narcotics such as tobacco and opioids.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hit back at Hogen’s allegations earlier this month, saying: “The argument that we intentionally promote content that makes people angry for profit is very illogical.”

British Home Minister calls for stricter laws

Ahead of Monday’s hearing, Haugen met with the country’s Interior Minister Priti Patel, who advocates for tougher legislation for tech platforms that fail to keep users safe.

Haugen is scheduled to speak to European policymakers next week at a major tech conference, the Webb Summit, and in Brussels.

She explained Instagram’s impact on the mental health of some young users on Monday, saying, “Facebook is unwilling to accept even the small fraction of profit being sacrificed for safety, and that’s not acceptable.”

The UK is bringing in laws that could fine social media companies up to 10% of their turnover if they fail to remove or limit the spread of illegal content such as child sexual abuse.

The government has said that platforms like Facebook will need to do more to protect children from grooming, bullying and exposure to pornography.

Reuters, along with other news organizations, looked at documents issued by Haugen to the US Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress.

They showed that Facebook knew it had not hired enough workers who had the necessary language skills and knowledge of local events to identify offensive posts from users in many developing countries.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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