Facebook harms children and weakens democracy: ex-employee

A former Facebook employee has told US lawmakers that the company’s sites and apps “harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy”.

Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old former product manager turned whistleblower, heavily criticised the company at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

Facebook has faced growing scrutiny and increasing calls for its regulation.

Founder Mark Zuckerberg hit back, saying recent coverage painted a “false picture” of the company.

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Whistleblower: ‘Almost no one outside of Facebook knows what happens inside Facebook’
Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower who released tens of thousands of pages of internal research and documents, said the social media company could “destroy” her for speaking out, but she believed that “as long as Facebook is operating in the dark, it is accountable to no one.”
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/10/04/tech/facebook-whistleblower-prepared-testimony/index.html

Key things the Facebook whistleblower told a Senate panel
The Facebook whistleblower who released tens of thousands of pages of internal research and documents indicating the company was aware of various problems caused by its apps, including Instagram’s potential “toxic” effect on teen girls, called on Congress to take action against the social media platform in testimony before a Senate subcommittee Tuesday.
https://edition.cnn.com/2021/10/05/tech/facebook-whistleblower-testify/index.html

Facebook Whistle-Blower Urges Lawmakers to Regulate the Company
A former Facebook product manager who turned into a whistle-blower gave lawmakers an unvarnished look into the inner workings of the world’s largest social network on Tuesday and detailed how the company was deliberate in its efforts to keep people — including children — hooked to its service.

In more than three hours of testimony before a Senate subcommittee, Frances Haugen, who worked on Facebook’s civic misinformation team for nearly two years until May, spoke candidly and with a level of insight that the company’s executives have rarely provided. She said Facebook had purposely hidden disturbing research about how teenagers felt worse about themselves after using its products and how it was willing to use hateful content on its site to keep users coming back.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/05/technology/facebook-whistle-blower-hearing.html

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen tells lawmakers that meaningful reform is necessary ‘for our common good’
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen on Tuesday told lawmakers that the company systematically and repeatedly prioritized profits over the safety of its users, painting a detailed picture of an organization where hunger to grow governed decisions, with little concern for the impact on society.

Her Senate committee testimony — based on her experience working for the company’s civic integrity division and thousands of documents she took with her before leaving in May — sought to highlight what she called a structure of incentivization, created by Facebook’s leadership and implemented throughout the company. By directing resources away from important safety programs and encouraging platform tweaks to fuel growth, these performance metrics dictated operations, Haugen said, a design that encouraged political divisions, mental health harms and even violence.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/10/05/facebook-senate-hearing-frances-haugen/

A Safer Social Media ‘Is Possible,’ Facebook Whistle-Blower Says [Reuters video]
Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, told senators that there were solutions to problems seen across social media platforms and that a safer, free-speech-respecting, more enjoyable social media was possible.
https://www.nytimes.com/video/technology/100000008009597/frances-haugen-whistle-blower-facebook-social-media-problems.html

Thune, Facebook Whistle-Blower on Engagement-Based Ranking [Reuters video]
Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, asked the Facebook whistle-blower to detail the danger of engagement-based ranking, which is used by Facebook and other social media platforms to determine which content they believe is most relevant to users’ interests.
https://www.nytimes.com/video/technology/100000008009850/john-thune-frances-haugen-whistle-blower-facebook-engagement-based-ranking.html

Ex-Facebook manager criticizes company, urges more oversight
While accusing the giant social network of pursuing profits over safety, a former Facebook data scientist told Congress Tuesday she believes stricter government oversight could alleviate the dangers the company poses, from harming children to inciting political violence to fueling misinformation.
https://apnews.com/article/facebook-haugen-congress-testimony-1daac7a76ca7bf0b0802cc46e732b51b

Facebook whistleblower testifies: Five highlights
A former Facebook employee told members of Congress Tuesday that the company knows that its platform spreads misinformation and content that harms children but refuses to make changes that could hurt its profits.
https://apnews.com/article/facebook-frances-haugen-congress-testimony-af86188337d25b179153b973754b71a4

Ex-Facebook employee bringing sharp criticisms to Congress
A former Facebook data scientist has stunned lawmakers and the public with revelations of the company’s awareness of apparent harm to some teens from Instagram and her accusations of dishonesty in its fight against hate and misinformation.
https://apnews.com/article/science-technology-business-congress-health-1daac7a76ca7bf0b0802cc46e732b51b

Whistle-Blower Says Facebook ‘Chooses Profits Over Safety’
John Tye, the founder of Whistleblower Aid, a legal nonprofit that represents people seeking to expose potential lawbreaking, was contacted this spring through a mutual connection by a woman who claimed to have worked at Facebook.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/03/technology/whistle-blower-facebook-frances-haugen.html

Facebook putting profit before public good, says whistleblower Frances Haugen
A former Facebook employee has accused the company of putting profit over the public good, after coming forward as the whistleblower who leaked a cache of internal documents that have placed the tech firm in its worst crisis since the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2021/oct/03/former-facebook-employee-frances-haugen-identifies-herself-as-whistleblower

Zuckerberg’s apologies have been a staple of Facebook scandals. Now, the company offers defiance.
After four years of almost continuous scandal, Facebook is approaching its latest controversy over political polarization and the toxic effects of social media in a more aggressive and defiant way than it has previously, say current and former employees, including executives who helped shape the company’s earlier responses.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/10/04/zuckerbergs-apologies-have-been-staple-facebook-scandals-now-company-offers-defiance/

Facebook urges court to dismiss latest F.T.C. antitrust suit.
Facebook filed a motion on Monday to dismiss the Federal Trade Commission’s revised antitrust lawsuit against the company, saying the agency’s complaint still lacked evidence that the company had violated antitrust laws.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/04/technology/facebook-ftc-antitrust-suit.html

Facebook again asks judge to dismiss FTC antitrust complaint, arguing it lacks ‘valid factual basis’
Facebook on Monday again asked a federal judge to throw out the Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust lawsuit, arguing that the agency still has “no valid factual basis” showing that the social network is an illegal monopolist, in one of the most high-profile competition cases in decades.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/10/04/facebook-ftc-antitrust-dismiss/

The Brief, powered by GIE — Facebook’s darkest hour
Unprecedented internet outages, public outrage, pending lawsuits, upcoming legislation, growing competition, and privacy quarrels: Facebook is facing its darkest hour.
https://www.euractiv.com/section/digital/opinion/the-brief-powered-by-gie-facebooks-darkest-hour/

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