Facebook harms children and deteriorates equality: Frances Haugen

By October 6, 2021Tech
Facebook harms children

A former Fb worker has advised US lawmakers that the corporate’s websites and apps “hurt kids, stoke division and weaken our democracy”.

Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old former product supervisor turned whistleblower, closely criticized the corporate at a listening to on Capitol Hill.

Fb has confronted rising scrutiny and rising requires its regulation.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg hit again, saying current protection painted a “false image” of the corporate.

In a letter to workers, he mentioned most of the claims “do not make any sense”, pointing to their efforts in preventing dangerous content material, establishing transparency, and creating “an industry-leading analysis program to beneath these essential points”.

Fb is the world’s hottest social media website. The corporate says it has 2.7 billion month-to-month lively customers. Lots of hundreds of thousands of individuals additionally use the corporate’s different merchandise, together with WhatsApp and Instagram.

Nevertheless, it has been criticized for a number of issues – from failing to guard customers’ privateness to not doing sufficient to halt the unfold of disinformation.

Ms. Haugen advised CBS Information on Sunday that she had shared quite a few inside Fb paperwork with the Wall Road Journal in current weeks.

Utilizing the paperwork, the WSJ reported that analysis carried out by Instagram confirmed the app may hurt ladies psychological well-being.

This was a theme Ms. Haugen continued throughout her testimony on Tuesday. “The corporate’s management is aware of methods to make Fb and Instagram safer, however, will not make the required adjustments as a result of they’ve put their astronomical income earlier than folks,” she mentioned.

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She criticized Mark Zuckerberg for having wide-ranging management, saying that there’s “nobody at the moment holding Mark accountable however himself.”

And he or she praised the large outage of Fb companies on Monday, which affected customers worldwide.

“Yesterday we noticed Fb taken off the web,” she mentioned. “I do not know why it went down, however, I do know that for greater than 5 hours, Fb wasn’t used to deepen divides, destabilize democracies and make younger women and girls really feel dangerous about their bodies.”

The reply, she advised senators, was congressional oversight. “We should act now,” she mentioned.

Mr. Zuckerberg, in his letter, mentioned the analysis into Instagram had been mischaracterized and that many younger folks had optimistic experiences of utilizing the platform. However, he mentioned, “it is essential to me that all the things we construct are secure and good for teenagers”.

On Monday’s outage, he mentioned the deeper concern was not “how many individuals change to aggressive companies or how a lot of cash we lose, however, what it means for the individuals who depend on our companies to speak with family members, run their companies, or assist their communities”.

Each Republican and Democratic senator on Tuesday have been united within the want for change on the firm – an uncommon subject of settlement between the 2 political events.

“The injury to self-interest and self-worth inflicted by Fb in the present day will hang out an era,” Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal mentioned.

“Huge Tech now faces the Huge Tobacco jaw-dropping second of reality,” he added, a reference to how tobacco companies hid the dangerous results of their merchandise.

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Fellow Republican Dan Sullivan mentioned the world would look again and ask “What the hell have been we pondering?” in mild of the revelations about Fb’s effect on kids.

In a press release issued after the listening to, Fb mentioned it didn’t agree with Ms. Haugen’s “characterization of the numerous points she testified about”. Nevertheless, it did agree that “it is time to start to create customary guidelines for the web.”

“It has been 25 years for the reason that guidelines for the web have been up to date, and as a substitute of anticipating the {industry} to make societal selections that belong to legislators, it’s time for Congress to behave,” the assertion learn.

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