Frances Haugen, a former product manager who worked on Facebook's civic integrity team, testified in front of the US Senate. In her testimony, Haugen blasted her former employer and stated that the company repeatedly and knowingly put growth and profit over safety. Her testimony comes after she leaked several internal facebook documents that drew severe backlash for Facebook. Earlier in the week, she revealed her identity as the whistleblower via a 60 minutes interview with CBS.
What we learned from the leaked documents
1) Celebrities are not just like us
Facebook has a system in place called XCheck or cross check. The system is meant to examine the content that requires additional attention. If Facebook determines that the content is misleading, inflammatory or incorrect, it can flag or even remove it. However, leaked documents have shown that certain celebrities and political figures had a different set of guidelines when it came to what content they were allowed to post. In a statement facebook pushed back against the criticism saying, the leaked documents that were published by the Wall Street Journal, relied on "outdated information stitched together to create a narrative that glosses over the most important point: Facebook itself identified the issues with cross-check and has been working to address them".
2) Facebook did not take human trafficking seriously
The leaked documents also revealed that several employees had raised concerns about the platform being home to several drug cartels and human traffickers being active on the platform. However, the company's response to such concerns has been described as weak. Though Facebook was well aware of the problem it took limited action. The company was spurred into taking action when Apple threatened to remove its products from their app store.
3) Facebook is in litigation with its own shareholders
A group of Facebook's own shareholders have sued the company over its $5 billion payment to the US Federal Trade Commission for the Cambridge Analytica data scandal. The shareholders allege that the fine paid was so high because it was a way to protect Mark Zuckerberg from personal liability.
4) Facebook know it's not good for teenagers
The reveal that has drawn the most severe backlash against the company is the fact that they knew about Instagram's effects on teenagers. Facebook conducted its own surveys to find out about the effects of its platform on teenagers. It's own survey revealed that 32% of teenage girls felt worse about their bodies because of Instagram. Despite knowing this information the company took no action. In fact, the company had started working on an 'Instagram for children'. After the backlash Facebook has put these plans on hold.
What Frances Haugen said in her testimony:
Hugen gave powerful testimony for 4 hours to the senate. She stated, “I’m here today because I believe Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy. The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed. They won’t solve this crisis without your help.”
What do you think about Facebook's efforts to keep it's platform safe? Do you feel the company does enough or is there room for improvement? Subscribe to Whitepapers.online for the latest tech news.
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