Sunday, October 17, 2021

Profit was prioritized over curbing hate speech, Facebook whistleblower claims

A Facebook whistleblower who is due to testify before Congress on Tuesday has accused the Big Tech company of repeatedly turning a profit before doing what was “good for the public”, including cracking down on hate speech.

Francis Haugen, who told CBS’s “60 Minutes” program that he was recruited by Facebook in 2019 as a product manager on the civil misinformation team, said he and his lawyers worked with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. At least eight complaints have been filed.

During her appearance on Sunday’s television program, Haugen revealed that she was the whistleblower who provided internal documents for a September 14 exposé by The Wall Street Journal, which claims Instagram’s impact on young girls’ self-esteem ” toxic” effect. .

That investigation claimed the social media giant was aware of the issue but “made minimal effort to address these issues and publicly show them.”

“What I saw on Facebook over and over again was a conflict of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook repeatedly chose to optimize for their own interests, such as making more money, Haugen said.

She explained that Facebook did this by “picking up” content that was “engaging or eliciting a response” even that the content is hateful, divisive or polarizing, as “provoking people to anger others.” Easier than feelings.”

“Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithms to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, they will click on fewer ads, they will make less money,” she claimed.

Haugen is expected to testify on October 5 at a Senate hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online” about Facebook’s knowledge of the photo-sharing app’s supposedly harmful effects on children.

During his appearance on the television program, Haugen also accused Facebook of lying to the public about the progress made to curb hate speech on the social media platform. She further accused the company of promoting division and violence in the United States and around the world.

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“When we live in an information environment that is full of angry, hateful, polarizing material it erodes our civic trust, it undermines our trust in each other, it erodes our trust in each other, it erodes our need to care for each other. It destroys our potential. The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing down our societies and causing ethnic violence around the world.”

He said Facebook was used to help organize the January 6 breach of the US Capitol building, after the company shut down its security systems after the US presidential elections.

While he believed no one at Facebook was “malicious,” he said the company had mishandled the incentives.

“Facebook makes more money when you consume more content,” she said. “People enjoy connecting with things that evoke an emotional response. And the more anger they expose, the more they interact and the more they consume.”

Shortly after the television interview, Facebook spokeswoman Lena Pietsch issued a statement pushing back against Hogen’s claims.

“We continue to make significant improvements to combat the spread of misinformation and harmful content,” Pitsch said. “To suggest that we encourage bad content and do nothing is simply not true.”

Separately, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, told CNN before the interview aired that it was “ridiculous” that the blame for the events unfolded on social media on January 6.

The Epoch Times has reached out to Facebook for additional comment.

Reuters contributed to this report.

isabelle van bruggen

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Isabel van Bruggen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. He holds a Masters in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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