Facebook knows there is a problem with the “Like” and “Share” buttons


An internal Facebook study found that the “Like” button causes anxiety in young users, while the “Share” button increases toxicity.

Following Frances Haugen’s whistleblower revelations last month, Facebook faces increased scrutiny of its impact on American society and the world at large. The internal memo shared by Haugen with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and The Wall Street Journal led to the opening of an investigation by the US Congress into the company’s operations and whether it knowingly allows hatred and disinformation to flourish on the platform for financial gain.

Another revelation concerned the so-called “elite whitelist” which created a two-tier system to enforce policies, treat celebrities and influential people more leniently for gross violations of company policy. . Internal research also reportedly showed that the company was aware of the problem of drug and human trafficking on its platform, but had not taken adequate steps to address these issues.

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To add to the growing saga around Facebook, a new report from The New York Times now claims that an internal study commissioned by the company found that the ‘Like’ button on the platform causes “stress and anxiety” among many users. This was especially true for teens, as they constantly worry about how many “likes” their photos and other posts get from their friends and peers. Following the report, the company ran a limited test with selected users to see if removing the button had a positive impact on those children. As it turned out, removing the button reduced ad clicks and other interactions, but didn’t encourage teens to post more photos. So Facebook let the “Like” button stay on despite knowing how negatively impacting it has on its users.

Facebook says it spent $ 13 billion on user security

Facebook has also reportedly investigated the impact of the “Share” button, which the study found has amplified harmful content, including hate and misinformation. The study even concluded that “The mechanics of our platform are not neutral.” Nevertheless, the company has given permission to keep the “Share” button as it is an essential functionality of the website. The report also quotes former senior Facebook executives as saying the company has sacrificed its social responsibility in favor of growth and user engagement. According to Brian Boland, a vice president of Facebook who left last year, employees often have frank discussions about what’s going on on the platform and what needs to be done to change things for the better. However, “Making a difference can be much more difficult”, he noted.

For its part, Facebook, one of the five trillion dollar tech titans along with Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, has denied any wrongdoing. According to spokesperson Andy Stone, the company doesn’t put profit before people’s well-being and has invested $ 13 billion to improve security on the platform. He further claimed that the company hired 40,000 people to reduce toxicity on the platform, as its own business interests would be harmed if it did not care about the welfare of its users. He also added that the company supports the updated regulations, according to which government regulators should set standards and standards for social media platforms to follow.

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Source: The New York Times

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