Facebook Whistleblower Francis Hogen told the Senate panel on Tuesday that Congress must intervene to resolve the “crisis” caused by the products of former employers.
A former Facebook product manager on public misinformation told lawmakers that Facebook has always benefited the health and safety of its users. This is primarily the result of algorithmic design that leads users to potentially more harmful and potentially engaging posts. .. She couldn’t blame executives for deliberately creating harmful products, but ultimately CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he had to take responsibility for the impact of his business. I did.
Haugen also said Facebook’s algorithms can quickly lead young users from relatively harmless things like healthy recipes to content that promotes loss of appetite. She suggested a solution where Facebook would change its algorithm to stop focusing on delivering posts that generate more engagement and instead create a chronological feed of posts for Facebook users. That would help Facebook deliver more secure content, she said.
Hogen, The person who took off his mask on Sunday As a source of information behind leaked documents at the heart of Reveal the Wall Street Journal series on Facebook, Testimony in front of the Senate Trade Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. Haugen told “60 minutes” in an interview aired this weekend that the problems she saw on Facebook were worse than anywhere else she worked. Google, Yelp When Pinterest.. She told the news program that she had copied the tens of thousands of pages of internal research she had when she left Facebook in May.
“I saw Facebook repeatedly encounter conflicts between its own interests and our security,” Hogen said in her written testimony. “Facebook has consistently resolved these conflicts in favor of its own interests, resulting in a system that amplifies division, radicalism and polarization and undermines society around the world. I did. “
In a prepared statement, Hogen believes he has done the right thing to move forward, but realizes that Facebook could use its vast resources to “destroy” her. He said he was.
“I came forward because I recognized the horrifying truth. Almost no one outside Facebook knows what’s going on inside Facebook,” Hogen said in her written statement. “The company’s leadership holds important information from the general public, the US government, its shareholders, and governments around the world.”
Haugen said the turning point that convinced her that she needed to bring information outside of Facebook was when the company disbanded a civil integrity team after the 2020 US presidential election. Facebook said it would integrate these responsibilities into other parts of the company. But within six months of the restructuring, Haugen said that 75% of her seven “pods,” mostly from civil integrity, were left or completely left in other parts of the company. Said that.
“Six months after the restructuring, we were clearly losing confidence that those changes would come,” she said.
Much of the hearing focused on the impact Facebook has on younger users. Lawmakers said an internal Facebook survey found that Instagram created a toxic environment for some teenage girls who were already experiencing negative emotions about their bodies, one of the journal’s reports. Expressed anger. It prompted stronger calls from Facebook legislators to end plans to launch a version of Instagram for children.
Facebook has blamed the Journal of Cherry-Picking Data, and research shows that even if the majority of users surveyed feel that a small percentage exacerbated their negative emotions, it’s still a plus for using the product. I emphasized that I found the effect.
Facebook has Said In one study, eight in ten teenage Instagram users in the United States said the platform made them feel better or did not change their feelings about themselves. But Haugen testified on Tuesday that the remaining 20% remains important on platforms with billions of users worldwide.
“In the case of cigarettes, only about 10% of smokers get lung cancer,” Hogen said. “Therefore, 20% of users may be facing a serious mental health problem, and the idea that it is not a problem is shocking.”
Facebook has announced a suspension of Instagram’s children’s plan, but Haugen told Senator that he would be “heartily surprised” if Facebook stopped developing the product.
“Facebook understands that if you want to keep growing, you have to find new users,” Hogen said, adding that it means instilling habits in children.
In addition to her disclosure to the US Senate and journals, Hogen Filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange CommissionMislead investors and advertisers by knowing how the platform is being used, such as Facebook disseminating false information, and omitting or misrepresenting the steps taken to combat it. I insist.
Hogen said on Tuesday that Facebook has given advertising staff points to discuss following the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol, and that Facebook is doing everything it can to make the platform more secure. He said he guaranteed it. Haugen said this was not true.
She called on lawmakers to impose restrictions on Facebook, but warned in testimony that “old privacy tweaks and changes to Section 230 are not enough” to protect the online platform from liability for user posts. Mentioned the legal shield. .. She also said she believes it is possible to achieve a healthy social media platform and that Facebook presents “the wrong choice between connecting with loved ones online and personal privacy.”
“The heart of the matter is that no one can better understand Facebook’s destructive choices than Facebook because only Facebook can see inside,” she said in a prepared testimony, and transparency is correct. He said it was the first step.
She told lawmakers that she saw the Facebook team constantly understaffed and prompted “implicit disappointment from having a better detection system.” She said Facebook would be able to pick up far more incidents than they’ve already dealt with if Facebook had a basic detector on the counterintelligence team she worked for.
Similarly, she added that Facebook could be “substantially more” to detect children on the platform and need to expose those processes for Congress. She said Facebook has the ability to detect more underage children on the platform, even if they are lying about their age.
Haugen also said that while she was working there, the counterintelligence team tracked Chinese participation on Facebook and tracked the Uighur population of ethnic minorities. She said the “consistent staff shortage” of such teams was a national security concern and was talking to other parts of Congress about it. Blumenthal said the topic was ripe for another hearing topic.
At the opening ceremony of the hearing on Tuesday, Senator Richard Blumenthal, chair of the subcommittee, called on Zuckerberg to come in front of the committee to explain the company’s actions. He called the company “morally bankrupt” by rejecting the reforms offered by its researchers.
According to Hogen, Zuckerberg is solely responsible for himself as CEO and founder, who holds the majority of the company’s voting rights.
“There is no strong company that is unilaterally controlled,” Hogen said.
Blumental said Hogen’s disclosure signaled the arrival of a “big cigarette moment,” and Hogen responded to her own testimony. Blumental recalled his own work in suing tobacco companies as the Attorney General of Connecticut, and at a similar moment when executors learned that they had conducted research showing the harmful effects of their products. I remembered.
Senator Roger Wicker, chairman of the Commerce Commission, called the hearing “part of the process of solving the Big Tech mystery.”
Towards the end of the hearing, Blumental told Hogen that he believed “there are other whistleblowers.”
“I think you’re leading by setting an example,” he said. “I think you’re showing them that there is a way to make the industry more responsible and more caring for their children.”
This story is developing.
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Facebook whistleblower testifies in front of Senate committee
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