Facebook prioritized profits over calming hate speech, whistleblower claims – National

A Facebook Inc. whistleblower on Sunday accused the social media giant of repeatedly prioritizing revenue over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation, and mentioned her attorneys have filed at the least eight complaints with the U.S. Securities and Trade Fee.


Frances Haugen, who labored as a product supervisor on the civic misinformation workforce at Fb, appeared on Sunday on the CBS tv program “60 Minutes,” revealing her id because the whistleblower who offered the paperwork that underpinned a Wall Road Journal investigation and a Senate listening to on Instagram’s hurt to teen women.

Fb has been beneath hearth after the Journal printed a collection of tales based mostly on Fb inside shows and emails that confirmed the social media firm contributed to elevated polarization on-line when it made adjustments to its content material algorithm, didn’t take steps to scale back vaccine hesitancy and was conscious that Instagram harmed the psychological well being of teenage women.

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Haugen will testify earlier than a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday in a listening to titled “Defending Children On-line,” in regards to the firm’s analysis into Instagram’s impact on younger customers.

“There have been conflicts of curiosity between what was good for the general public and what was good for Fb,” she mentioned in the course of the interview. “And Fb time and again selected to optimize for its personal pursuits like making extra money.”

Haugen, who beforehand labored at Google and Pinterest, mentioned Fb has lied to the general public in regards to the progress it made to clamp down on hate speech and misinformation on its platform.

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She added that Fb was used to assist arrange the Capitol riot on January 6, after the corporate turned off security programs following the U.S. presidential elections.

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Whereas she believed nobody at Fb was “malevolent,” she mentioned the corporate had misaligned incentives.

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Fb printed an announcement disputing the factors that Haugen made after the televised interview.

“We proceed to make vital enhancements to deal with the unfold of misinformation and dangerous content material,” mentioned Fb spokesperson Lena Pietsch. “To counsel we encourage unhealthy content material and do nothing is simply not true.”

Forward of the 60 Minutes interview, Fb Vice President of worldwide affairs Nick Clegg mentioned on CNN it was “ludicrous” to say that Jan. 6 occurred due to social media.

On Sunday, Haugen’s lawyer John Tye, founding father of authorized nonprofit Whistleblower Support, confirmed a New York Occasions report that a few of the inside paperwork have been shared with attorneys normal from a number of states together with California, Vermont and Tennessee.

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Tye mentioned the complaints have been filed to the SEC on the idea that as a publicly-traded firm, Fb is required to not deceive its buyers, and even withhold materials info.

The complaints evaluate Fb’s inside analysis with its public statements on the problems it researched, in line with the 60 Minutes interview.

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Tye mentioned Haugen has additionally spoken with lawmakers in Europe and is scheduled to seem earlier than the British parliament later this month, in hopes of spurring regulatory motion.

He and Haugen are additionally fascinated about talking with lawmakers from international locations in Asia, since lots of the points that motivated Haugen stem from the area, together with the ethnic violence in Myanmar, he added.

Whistleblower Support, which is representing Haugen pro-bono, has additionally launched a GoFundMe to boost US$50,000 for her authorized prices.

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(Reporting by Sheila Dang in Dallas; Enhancing by Kenneth Li, Aurora Ellis and Richard Pullin) | Fb prioritized earnings over calming hate speech, whistleblower claims – Nationwide


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