Former Facebook manager Frances Haugen accused the company on Sunday of putting its own profits ahead of fighting hate speech and disinformation. Her lawyers have filed at least eight complaints against the social media giant to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, she said.
Frances Haugen, 37, who worked at Facebook as a product manager in the disinformation department, was a guest on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program on Sunday. She revealed that she was behind the leaks of the documents that formed the basis of the Wall Street Journal investigation.
Wall Street Journal Investigation
Prior to her departure, Haugen had copied many of the company’s internal documents, which she passed on to WSJ journalists.
On their basis, the newspaper published a series of articles, which show that by introducing the content algorithm, the portal contributed to increasing the polarization of the Internet, and also did not take steps to reduce the aversion to vaccination. The disclosed documents showed that celebrities, politicians and other famous Facebook users were treated in a different way than other Internet users – different moderation rules were applied to these profiles or they were not applied at all – writes the BBC.
The Wall Street Journal also featured research on the harmful effects that what Instagram has on teenage users. A significant proportion of young people admitted that using the website exacerbated their problems related to their body image, depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety.
After a series of articles by “WSJ”, the matter was taken up by the US Senate. Haugen is due to testify before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday.
Interview with Frances Haugen on CBS
“There were conflicts of interest between what was good for society and what was good for Facebook,” Hagen told CBS on Sunday. “Facebook constantly chose to optimize its own interests, such as increasing profits,” she added. She said she left Facebook earlier this year as she was irritated by the company’s policy.
Haugen also said Facebook was lying to the public about the progress the company was making in reducing hate speech and disinformation on a social media platform.
According to the former manager, Facebook was used by the organizers of the Capitol riots in January to fuel violence. As she revealed, during the presidential election, the giant launched special security systems, which were turned off shortly after the vote. “As soon as the elections were over, they turned them off or changed the settings back to what they were before, putting profit growth over security, and that really does seem like a betrayal of democracy,” Haugen said.
In response to Haugen’s disclosure, Facebook released a statement challenging the woman’s reports.
“We are constantly making significant improvements to counter the spread of disinformation and harmful content,” assured Facebook spokeswoman Lena Pietsch. “It is simply not true to suggest that we encourage people to post inappropriate content and do nothing,” she added.
Facebook’s vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg said on CNN shortly after the interview with Hegel that the claim that he was fed up with the events of January 6 because of social media was “ridiculous”.
Main photo source: Enex