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Facebook whistleblower identity revealed, firm says “benefits more than security”

The whistleblower said Facebook knew its products were spreading hatred. (file)

Washington:

The whistleblower who shared a trove of Facebook documents alleging the social media giant knew its products were spreading hatred and harming children’s mental health, revealed her identity in a televised interview on Sunday, And accused the company of choosing “profit over safety”.

Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist from Iowa who has worked for companies including Google and Pinterest – but said in an interview with the CBS News show “60 Minutes” that Facebook was “bad enough” that she had previously seen it. .

He demanded to regulate the company. “Facebook has shown time and again that it chooses profit over security. It’s subsidizing, it’s paying its profits with our security,” Haugen said.

“The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world,” she said.

The world’s largest social media platform is embroiled in a firearm brought by Haugen, who posing as an unnamed whistleblower shared documents with US lawmakers and The Wall Street Journal detailing how Facebook knew Instagram Including its products are harming young girls.

In the 60 Minutes interview he explained how the algorithm, which chooses to show up in a user’s News Feed, is optimized for the content that receives a response.

The company’s own research shows that “it is easier to propel people to anger than other emotions,” Haugen said.

“Facebook has realized that if they changed the algorithm to be safer, people would spend less time on the site, they would click on fewer ads, they would make less money.”

During the 2020 US presidential election, she said, the company realized the threat that such content presented and turned to security systems to mitigate it.

But “as soon as the election is over, they shut them back down, or they change the settings to the same thing as before, to prioritize development over security, and that really feels like a betrayal of democracy to me, ” He said.

“No one on Facebook is malevolent,” she said, adding that the incentives are “the wrong way.”

“Facebook makes more money when you consume more content … and the more anger they are exposed to, the more they interact, the more they consume.”

Haugen did not draw a straight line between the January 6 decision to withdraw security systems and the US Capitol riot, although 60 Minutes noted that social networks were used by some of the organizers of that violence.

‘ridiculous’

Earlier on Sunday, Facebook dismissed “ridiculous” suggestions that it contributed to the January 6 riots.

Facebook’s vice president of policy and global affairs, Nick Clegg, also insisted that its platforms are “toxic” for teenagers, days after a tense congressional hearing in which US lawmakers criticized the company’s impact on young users’ mental health. Asked the company.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Clegg sought to pre-empt Haugen’s interview by writing a 1,500-word memo alerting employees to the “misleading” allegations.

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.

polarization

While everyone has “an evil uncle” or old classmate whose extreme views can be reflected on Facebook, Clegg reportedly wrote in his memo, “Changes to algorithmic ranking systems on a social media platform do not explain widespread social polarization. Can do.”

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.

(This story has not been edited by NB staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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