Facebook Whistleblower Testifies About Company’s Harms Amid Leak Fallout

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified earlier than Congress on Tuesday, telling a Senate subcommittee that the social media big is placing “profits before people.”

Haugen’s claims are supported by tens of hundreds of pages of inner Facebook analysis, which she beforehand offered to The Wall Street Journal.

The paper used the paperwork to publish a collection of extremely damaging articles about Facebook, alleging that, amongst different issues, the corporate knew Instagram was “toxic” for youngsters even because it pursued methods to enroll youthful and youthful youngsters.

In her opening assertion, Haugen urged Congress to manage Facebook. She in contrast the corporate to Big Tobacco, which for many years hid analysis about its merchandise’ true hurt.

“The documents I have provided to Congress prove that Facebook has repeatedly misled the public about what its own research reveals about the safety of children, the efficacy of its artificial intelligence systems, and its role in spreading divisive and extreme messages,” Haugen mentioned. “I came forward because I believe that every human being deserves the dignity of the truth.”

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, arriving on Tuesday to testify in front of a Senate subcommittee. “I c

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook worker, arriving on Tuesday to testify in entrance of a Senate subcommittee. “I got here ahead as a result of I consider that each human being deserves the dignity of the reality,” she informed lawmakers. 

Speaking in a relaxed, measured voice, Haugen took senators’ questions and made a compelling case for federal knowledge privateness legal guidelines.

In explicit, she highlighted Facebook’s engagement-based rating techniques, which decide who sees what on the platform. The algorithms give higher weight to content material that elicits the strongest reactions, thereby boosting more and more excessive posts.

Haugen additionally warned that Facebook depends an excessive amount of on synthetic intelligence to display out dangerous content material, the overwhelming majority of which evades detection.

Facebook misses 93% to 95% of the hate speech on the platform, Haugen mentioned. She later added that the corporate’s anti-vaccine screening efforts, which additionally rely closely on synthetic intelligence techniques, won’t ever get greater than 10% to 20% of the offending content material.

“I’ve spent most of my career working on systems like engagement-based ranking,” Haugen informed the subcommittee on client safety, product security and knowledge safety. “When I come to you and say these things, I’m basically damning 10 years of my own work.”

In a transparent try and discredit Haugen’s testimony, Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone chimed in by way of Twitter shortly after the listening to started. The argument: Because Haugen hadn’t labored immediately on a number of the topics she was addressing, she wasn’t certified to remark.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) learn the tweet aloud in the course of the listening to, eliciting stifled laughter within the chamber. 

Fight for the Future, a nonprofit digital advocacy group that screens Facebook, informed HuffPost that engagement-based rating is dangerous as a result of it amplifies misinformation and engenders social division — but additionally as a result of it suppresses different vital content material, like posts about local weather change.

“The problem with Facebook’s products is not that they host user generated content. It’s that they use machine learning to show us the content that Facebook thinks we want to see in order to keep us on the platform longer and sell more ads,” Evan Greer, FFTF’s director, informed HuffPost in an emailed assertion. “What Facebook sells is not an online message board where people can express themselves, it’s surveillance-driven algorithmic manipulation that’s maximized for engagement.”


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