Facebook Whistleblower Says Social Media Giant Gained Profit Before Shutting Down Hate Speech
Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, had claimed that the social media platform had repeatedly been gaining profit over hate speech and misinformation.
Haugen said that her lawyers had filed at least eight complaints with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to a Reuters report.
The Facebook whistleblower used to be a product manager on the civic misinformation at the company. She revealed that she was the whistleblower who gave the documents that prompted a Wall Street investigation.
She noted that there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for the social media platform.
Haugen said that Facebook had repeatedly chosen to optimize for its own interests, such as making more money.
One document provided by Haugen showed that they have evidence from a variety of sources that hate speech, divisive political speech, and misinformation on Facebook and affiliated apps are affecting societies globally, according to The Verge report.
Haugen said that the root of the problem is the algorithms that were released in 2018 that rule what people see o the platform.
The whistleblower added that the algorithms were meant to drive engagement and that Facebook found that the best engagement is the kind that instills fear and hate in users.
Haugen said that it is easier to inspire people to anger than it is to other emotions.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier presented the algorithm changes as positive, saying that they feel it is a responsibility to make sure that their services are not just fun to use but also good for people's well-being.
However, reports noted that the result from the algorithm changes had turned toward anger and hate. One internal memo of Facebook quoted that misinformation, toxicity, and violent content are prevalent among reshares.
The social media giant was also accused of being a tool in organizing the Capitol riot on January 6, according to Haugen. She noted that Facebook had turned off its safety systems after the U.S. presidential elections.
However, Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of policy and global affairs, had defended the company with the 1,500-word memo.
Clegg said that evidence does not support allegations that Facebook or social media, more generally, is the primary cause of the divide, according to The New York Times report.
Facebook spokesperson Lena Pietsch said in a statement that to suggest that the company encourages bad content and does nothing is not true, as Reuters reported.
Clegg also said that their job is to mitigate the bad, reduce it, and amplify the good, according to an Axios report.
The Facebook official went on to say that he thinks they do more than anyone else in the industry and more than any reasonable person can expect to.
Haugen had called for the regulation of social networks more broadly. She is also set to testify in a Senate hearing on October 5.
Facebook had also come under scrutiny when its affiliated app Instagram was probed for its adverse effects on teenager's mental health.
This article is owned by Latin Post
Written by Mary Webber
WATCH: Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen: The 60 Minutes Interview - from 60 Minutes
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