Facebook Whistleblower says company lacks the will to secure apps

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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before UK lawmakers, describing the company as being money-driven rather than safety-oriented and in need of regulation.

Frances Haugen, former Facebook product manager turned whistleblower says the company is unwilling to make its applications safe for users. Haugen, 37, first came to prominence this month after being revealed to be the source of a series of reports of The Wall Street Journal who delved into several internal Facebook studies, sharing what the company knew about its platform and its misdeeds. Since that time, the documents – since dubbed the Facebook Papers – have become the focus of multiple media reporting, publishing a multitude of stories covering everything from decrease in the number of Facebook users among adolescents to complaints CEO Mark Zuckerberg focused on growth rather than security.

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The Facebook Papers have been passed on to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, US lawmakers, and numerous publications, leaving Facebook to defend itself on several fronts. Haugen testified before a Senate committee in early October, where she said she intended to help fix Facebook rather than damage it. Soon after, the founder of Facebook and Zuckerberg posted on the platform, claiming that the company does not “deliberately disseminating content that makes people angry“, suggesting that such a decision would be”deeply illogical. “Zuckerberg’s response was not enough to swell the tide, and since then Haugen has vowed to meet with the company’s supervisory board.

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Haugen appeared in London yesterday to speak with UK parliamentary lawmakers about Facebook and what she’s learned about how it works. Haugen says the main goal of the business is profitability, suggesting that the leadership of the company lacks the will “to ensure that these systems are operated in a sufficiently safe manner. The whistleblower also shared her doubts that Facebook’s subsidiary Instagram would be able to create a safe service for those under the age of 13. The suggestion follows Facebook’s decision to suspend development of Instagram Kids, an app for pre-teens.

Concern about filter bubbles


Interview with Frances Haugen, FB whistleblower

Haugen also echoed concerns she shared with U.S. Senators, including the idea that Facebook’s suite of apps can be used to radicalize people. Haugen noted that she is “concerned that they’ve made a product that can take people away from their real communities“pulling them in”rabbit holes and those filter bubbles. She also proposed that Facebook do more to slow the spread of disinformation and hateful content.

As with his previous statements, Haugen stressed the desire to see the introduction of external regulation for social media platforms. The whistleblower says Facebook is full of “good, kind and conscientious peopleBut asserts that the company is structured in such a way that the incentive to profit outweighs any substantial security measures. Facebook says the account is wrong and that it is investing heavily in measures to fix problems on its platforms. But with lawmakers on both sides of the Atlantic paying attention to Haugen, that may not be enough to slow future regulation.

Next: Facebook’s Own Supervisory Board Says Facebook Lies Too Much

Source: The edge, The Washington Post, Facebook, The Guardian


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