WASHINGTON — A Facebook whistleblower who raised the alarm about the company’s multiple business practices testified before Congress on Tuesday after several revelations about the company.
Frances Haugen, a former project manager at Facebook The man who leaked a vast archive of internal documents to the Wall Street Journal appeared before a Senate subcommittee.
Documents released by Haugen made several explosive revelations about the company’s strategy in pursuit of growth, including bids to market its products directly to children, underscoring the seriousness of the platform’s public health misinformation crisis. The document and internal research found that its Instagram platform is devastating the mental health of young girls.
Facebook hasn’t completely denied any of the Journal’s reports, but it claims the characterizations are “misleading” and has hit back hard on them.
“I’ve seen a bunch of social networks, and it was much worse on Facebook than it was before,” Haugen said in an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday.
so haugen Alleged that the social media platform aggravated the January 6 riots A violent mob stormed the building at the US Capitol.
Lawmakers are expected to question Haugen on the implications of the documents, which come as opinions on Capitol Hill have already turned sharply against the tech giants on both sides of the aisle.
hearing in Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation The Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Protection has begun. Check back here for the full update.
In response to questions from Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook whistleblower Frances Hogen said there is no one in the company to hold its cofounder accountable.
“The buck stops with Mark,” she said.
He said Facebook’s corporate strategy has led to its current tests.
“Matrix makes decisions. Unfortunately that is a decision in itself and in the end, (Zuckerberg) is the CEO and president of Facebook, he is responsible for those decisions,” she said.
After Blumenthal called Zuckerberg the “algorithm designer in chief,” Haugen described how the management style of the CEO and chairman has led to a troubled cycle.
“Facebook has long struggled to recruit and retain employees who need to tackle the vast array of projects it chooses,” he said. “That causes it to under-understand projects, which lead to scandals, making it difficult to hire.”
That’s why the company needs to “come out and say, ‘We’ve done something wrong. We’ve made some choices that we’re sorry for.’” “The only way we can move forward and fix Facebook is that we have to first accept the truth.”
— Mike Snyder
In her opening remarks, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen recalled her experience on Facebook and urged lawmakers to deal with the tech giant’s behaviour.
Haugen said in his opening remarks, “The choices being made at Facebook are disastrous, and many of the decisions made through its business practices and products “have led to genuine violence that harms and even harms people.” That kills too.”
Haugen highlighted examples of bigotry on Facebook’s platforms around the world, including mob violence and genocide in several countries such as Myanmar and Ethiopia.
He said that the company is fully aware of the impact its platform can have on people, especially children. “It’s about choosing Facebook to grow at all costs,” Haugen said.
“Almost no one outside Facebook knows what happens inside Facebook,” Hogen said, comparing the company’s opacity to other tech giants like Alphabet, which owns Google and YouTube.
Haugen said Facebook “deliberately hides” its inner workings from the American public and governments around the world in an effort to hide its company’s influence.
“Facebook will not change until the indictment changes. Left alone, Facebook will continue to elect against the common good. Our common good,” she said.
Haugen called on lawmakers to intervene in the situation and rule in the social media company’s behavior, comparing Facebook’s behavior to those of the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries, which in the past shied away from accountability.
Haugen said that because of the black box nature of Facebook’s algorithms, the government and the public are left to judge the company’s algorithms based on their end result, which is less effective than looking at the technology from the inside.
“A safe, free speech is possible while respecting social media,” Hogen said, adding that the company’s many revelations are “only the first chapter in a story that’s so terrifying, no one wants to read the end of it.” “
— Matthew Brown
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Ten. alleged that Facebook continues to profit from protecting children and teen users on its platform – a bipartisan issue that could unite legislators against the tech giant.
He cited research provided by Facebook following Haugen’s revelations, which found that 66% of teenage girls and 40% of teenage boys experienced negative social comparisons on Instagram. Another finding: 52% of teen girls who experienced negative social comparisons on Instagram said it was because of images related to beauty.
“Social comparison is worse on Instagram because it’s treated as real life, but based on celebrity standards,” Blackburn said.
The resulting social media consumption cycle can lead to a “downward emotional spiral involving a range of emotions from jealousy to self-proclaimed body dysmorphia,” Blackburn said.
Facebook also acknowledges that users can become addicted, Blackburn said, using a term it “conveniently calls ‘problematic use’,” which is “most common among teens who peak at age 14.” Serious.”
“Big tech companies have stopped abusing consumers for too long,” Blackburn said. “It is clear that Facebook prioritizes profit over the well-being of our children and all users.”
— Mike Snyder
As lawmakers and the public again turn their attention to Facebook amid the most damaging scandal in years, the company’s top executives remain silent.
Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is absent from the national spotlight. The company’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg is also missing in action.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, has said he will meet with Zuckerberg to testify about the latest reports on the company’s internal research. Facebook has yet to issue a statement about whether he will testify before Congress.
Since the Wall Street Journal’s latest reports, the company’s vice president of global affairs and communications, Nick Clegg, has been the company’s chief spokesperson, emphasizing the latest reports.
Instagram’s top executive, Adam Mosseri, has also made appearances in the media since the latest revelations, including the announcement that the company would halt work on its Instagram Kids project amid public backlash.
Zuckerberg and Sandberg’s absence from the public eye reflects past major woes for the company, including the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal.
— Matthew Brown
Tuesday’s hearing comes less than 24 hours after Facebook and its associated apps came back to life after one of the longest outages in history.
Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp suspended on Monday It upset the billions of users who rely on the social media giant and its apps for everything from connecting with friends to running their business and logging into websites.
According to downdetector.com, the social network and Facebook-owned platform stopped operating around 11:30 a.m. EDT on Monday. Some users were able to access the platforms at around 5:40 pm, but all the functions did not return.
Facebook said late Monday that “the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change” and “there was no evidence that user data was compromised.”
— Terry Collins
Follow Matthew Brown online @mbrownsir.