Whistleblower tells MPs: 'Hate is the easiest way to grow on Facebook'

'I am extremely worried about the condition of our societies'

10/25/2021 7:40:00 PM

'I am extremely worried about the condition of our societies'

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, has answered questions from MPs on how the social network works.

Appearing in front of parliament’s Joint Committee on the draft Online Safety Bill, she answered questions on the inner workings of the biggest social media company in the world.Ms Haugen said that the tech giant was ‘very good at dancing with data’ and that its algorithms helped ‘prioritise extreme content’.

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‘Part of why I came forward is that I am extremely worried about the condition of our societies … and of the interaction of the choices that Facebook has made and how it plays out more broadly,’ she said.Ms Haugen told the parliamentary select committee that the social media giant was ‘unquestionably’ making online hate worse.

‘We didn’t invent hate, we didn’t invent ethnic violence. And that is not the question.‘The question is what is Facebook doing to amplify or expand hate … or ethnic violence?’Frances Haugen answered questions from MPs (Credits: PA)Ms Haugen has also accused the tech giant of being aware of the apparent harm Instagram could have on some teenagers and their body image, and said the firm had been dishonest in its public fight against hate content and misinformation by hiding research that shows it amplifies such content. headtopics.com

Facebook founderMark Zuckerberg has rejected the claims made by Ms Haugen, saying her attacks on the company were ‘misrepresenting’ the work it does.He said the company ‘cares deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health’ and that Ms Haugen’s recent evidence to a US congressional committee ‘just doesn’t reflect the company we know’.

‘At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritise profit over safety and well-being. That’s just not true,’ he added.Campaigner Flora Rebello Arduini with a 4-metre-high installation, depicting Mark Zuckerberg surfing on a wave of cash and surrounded by teenagers, outside the Houses of Parliament (Credits: PA)

Facebook isreportedly planning to rebrand its business namein an apparent bid to distance its wider business from the slew of controversies in recent years.Home Secretary Priti Patel has said ‘tech companies have a moral duty to keep their users safe’ following a meeting with Haugen. Ms Patel said it was a ‘constructive meeting’ on online safety.

Read more: Metro »

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