Facebook on Sunday dismissed “ridiculous” suggestions it contributed to the January 6 US Capitol riots, an allegation the social media giant hopes in an upcoming whistleblower interview.
Facebook’s vice president of policy and global affairs, Nick Clegg, also insisted that its platforms are “toxic” for teens, following a recent tense congressional hearing in which US lawmakers debated its impact on young users’ mental health. Grilled the company. .
The world’s biggest social media platform is embroiled in a firestorm brought on by an unnamed whistleblower who shared a slew of company documents with lawmakers and The Wall Street Journal detailing how Facebook knew Instagram Including her products are self harming girls. -image.
The uproar was likely to continue late Sunday with the appearance of an unnamed whistleblower on the news show “60 Minutes” to discuss allegations that Facebook eased its security safeguards after the 2020 election, leading to Donald Trump supporters used it. Capital.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that Clegg wrote a 1,500-word memo alerting employees to the “misleading” allegations, seeking to pre-empt the whistleblower.
Clegg pressed the matter in an appearance on CNN.
“I think January 6th can be explained because of social media, I think it’s ridiculous,” Clegg told the broadcaster. It was “false comfort” to believe that technology was driving America’s deep political polarization.
Responsibility for the uprising lies with “those who instigated and encouraged the violence – including then-President Trump” and others claiming the election had been plagiarized, he said.
According to the Times, Clegg wrote in his internal memo that the whistleblower would emphasize the problems stemming from Facebook’s 2018 decision to change its News Feed, which he calls “meaningful social interaction.”
While everyone has “an evil uncle” or old classmate whose extreme views can be reflected on Facebook, Clegg reportedly wrote, “changes to algorithmic ranking systems on a social media platform cannot explain widespread social polarization. “
Facebook has faced criticism that it fosters social problems, with Clegg saying it should not rest at Facebook’s feet. But he acknowledged that people with pre-existing problems may not benefit from social media use.
“I don’t think it’s innately surprising that if you’re not already feeling good about yourself, going on social media can actually make you feel a little worse,” he told CNN.
He also protested the Wall Street Journal reporting in an explosive series that Facebook’s own research warned of the harm the photo-sharing app Instagram could do to the well-being of teenage girls.
“It hasn’t been proven by our research or anyone else that Instagram is bad or toxic for all teens, but Facebook’s research will continue,” Clegg said.