UPDATED 9:38 am PT – Monday, October 4, 2021
“If they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, click fewer ads and earn less.”
– Frances Haugen, head of Facebook disinformation
Facebook’s latest whistleblower claimed the tech giant was lying to investors about its security standards and also suggested it was prioritizing profit over public safety.
In a Sunday interview, former Facebook disinformation manager Frances Haugen said the company has repeatedly breached security standards to maximize its profits. He said Facebook has taken action on less than five percent of hate speech and violence cases, telling investors it is seriously fighting these risks.
Haugen said he filed eight complaints with the SEC over Facebook’s lies. He also said he has tens of thousands of pages of documents to prove his case.
“The thing I saw on Facebook, over and over again, was that there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the audience and what was good for Facebook,” he said. “And Facebook, over and over again, has chosen to optimize for their own interests as they make more money. I’ve seen a lot of social networking sites and it’s been substantially worse on Facebook than anything I’ve seen before. “
Additionally, he said the root of the company’s problem is in a 2018 change to the site’s algorithm designed to show users the content they are most likely to interact with.
“And one of the consequences of the way Facebook is selecting that content today is that they are optimizing content that gets engagement, a reaction, but its own research is showing that content that is hateful, that divides, that is polarizing … is it’s easier to inspire anger than other emotions, ”he explained.
Together we can create social media that brings out the best in us. We solve problems together, we don’t solve them alone.
– Frances Haugen (@FrancesHaugen_) October 4, 2021
Haugen said misinformation and hateful content are what keeps people engaged and the company booming. He added, although Facebook acknowledges that if they were to go through and protect its displayed content, they would lose profits.
“Facebook makes more money when they consume more content,” he said. “People love to engage with things that provoke an emotional reaction and the more anger they are exposed, the more they interact and the more they consume.”
However, Facebook is defending its security policies by saying its job is to “mitigate the evil and amplify the good”. Meanwhile, Haugen is expected to testify before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection on Tuesday.
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[ https://newswarden.com/whistleblower-facebook-is-misleading-the-public-chooses-profits-over-safety/ https://d26toa8f6ahusa.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/30214746/a-quiet-place-part-2-bigs-16.pdf