Frances Haugen testifies against Facebook in Congress
The former product manager who is blaming Facebook, Frances Haugenspoke in front of the United States Congress. The focus of the hearing was the research of the social network onimpact of Instagram on minors, which became public only after Haugen had it published in the Wall Street Journal. But the former executive also talked about other alleged tactics of the social network. And it seems the senators have listened with a lot of interest.
Frances Haugen testifies before Congress against Facebook
“The choices made within Facebook are disastrous for our children, for public safety, for our privacy and for our democracy “. Frances Haugen did not go thin on the allegations against the social network giant in Tuesday’s senatorial hearing.
The former product manager (who before Facebook also worked at Google, Yelp and other tech companies) explained to the senators the details of the research he published in the Wall Street Journal. Haugen however also accused Facebook of target teenagers, even those under 13. And she added that she doesn’t believe that Instagram Kids has really been suspended: according to her, the children’s social network is still in development.
Also, according to the former Facebook employee it does not have enough staff to monitor and protect users on the platform. For her, the company would be “trapped in a vicious circle in which it struggles to hire. This creates under-staff projects, which causes scandal, which makes it even more difficult to hire ”.
In particular, this would impact the monitoring of the platform in countries where English is not spoken. Haugen said that 87% of spending to combat disinformation is on content in Englisheven though only 9% of users speak it as their first language.
Political intervention is needed
The whistleblower also explained that the alleged lack of transparency requires legislative action. “The fact that Facebook is so afraid of even the most basic transparency that it is committed to blocking researchers who are asking questions demonstrates the need for Congressional scrutiny.”
Mark Zuckerberg responded to the allegations in a long Facebook post. Both he and the company spokesperson Lena Pietsch however, they agree with Haugen on at least one point. “Despite all this, we agree on one thing: it’s time to start create standard rules for the use of the internet. The last time they were updated was 25 years ago and instead of expecting industry to make social decisions this is up to the legislators. It is time for Congress to act ”.