Facebook Whistleblower Testifies About Company’s Harms Amid Leak Fallout

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Francis Haugen’s claims are backed by thousands of pages of internal research from the social networking giant.

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Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies before Congress on Tuesday, where she hope to tell A Senate subcommittee on how the social media giant puts “profits before the people.”

Haugen’s claims are backed by thousands of pages of Facebook’s internal research, which he called First provided to The Wall Street Journal.

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The paper used the documents to publish a series of highly harmful articles about Facebook, alleging that, among other things, the company knew Instagram was “toxic” for teens, even though it had committed small crimes. and pursued strategies to sign up younger children.

In his opening statement, Haugen urged Congress to regulate Facebook. She compared the company to Big Tobacco, which for decades hid research about the true harms of its products.

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“The documents I’ve provided to Congress prove that Facebook has repeatedly misled the public that its own research into protecting children, the efficacy of its artificial intelligence system, and divisive and extreme messages,” Haugen said. What is revealed about his role in spreading.” . “I came forward because I believe that every human being deserves the dignity of truth.”


Speaking in a calm, measured voice, Hogen took the senators’ questions and made a compelling case for federal data privacy laws.

In particular, she highlighted Facebook’s engagement-based ranking system, which determines who views what on the platform. Algorithms tend to overestimate the content that elicits the strongest response, which leads to increasingly extreme positions.

“I’ve spent most of my career working on systems like engagement-based rankings,” Haugen told the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Security and Data Security. “When I come to you and say these things, I’m basically spoiling my 10 years of work.”

Fight for the Future, a non-profit digital advocacy group that tracks Facebook, pointed out that engagement-based ranking is harmful not because it increases misinformation and widens social divisions—but also because it suppresses other important content. , such as posts about climate change.

“The problem with Facebook’s products is not that they host user-generated content. It’s like they use machine learning to show us the content Facebook thinks we want to see so that we can stay on the platform longer and sell more ads,” said Evan Greer, director of FFTF. What Facebook sells is not an online message board where people can express themselves, it is surveillance-driven algorithmic manipulation that maximizes engagement.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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