Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen: Facebook chooses profit over safety

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Frances Haugen is the “Facebook whistleblower,” the woman who filed federal complaints against her former employer, Facebook, for their active participation in hate, disinformation and fomenting the January 6th insurrection on the Capitol. Haugen was identified last night on 60 Minutes – she wanted to give the interview, and she’s arguing that more government oversight is needed on Facebook and all social media companies.

Frances Haugen was identified in a “60 Minutes” interview Sunday as the woman who anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement that the company’s own research shows how it magnifies hate and misinformation. Haugen, who worked at Google and Pinterest before joining Facebook in 2019, said she had asked to work in an area of the company that fights misinformation, since she lost a friend to online conspiracy theories.

“Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety,” she said. Haugen, who will testify before Congress this week, said she hopes that by coming forward the government will put regulations in place to govern the company’s activities.

She said Facebook prematurely turned off safeguards designed to thwart misinformation and rabble rousing after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump last year, alleging that contributed to the deadly Jan. 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol. Post-election, the company dissolved a unit on civic integrity where she had been working, which Haugen said was the moment she realized “I don’t trust that they’re willing to actually invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous.”

At issue are algorithms that govern what shows up on users’ news feeds, and how they favor hateful content. Haugen said a 2018 change to the content flow contributed to more divisiveness and ill will in a network ostensibly created to bring people closer together. Despite the enmity that the new algorithms were feeding, Facebook found that they helped keep people coming back — a pattern that helped the Menlo Park, California, social media giant sell more of the digital ads that generate most of its advertising.

[From The Associated Press]

She will testify before Congress about all of this, and I’m including the 60 Minutes video below. I really respect what she’s doing, and to me, the biggest headline is that Facebook knows very well what it’s doing. I certainly had the belief for years that Facebook was chaotic evil because they half-assed their own internal data and simply didn’t care that they were inciting monstrous behavior. But Haugen has the data and she’s revealing that Facebook *knowingly* instigates, platforms and nurtures violent hatred.

Messika : Photocall - Kate Moss High Jewelry Fashion Show - Paris Fashion Week - Womenswear Spring Summer 2022

screencaps courtesy of 60 Minutes.

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26 Responses to “Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen: Facebook chooses profit over safety”

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  1. psl says:

    Facebook has gotten RIDICULOUS. I read the most hateful disgusting comments, yet I was banned for a MONTH, because I CORRECTED THE SPELLING of an insult.

  2. Cleo D says:

    What she did:
    In May, she left her job as a data scientist at Facebook, taking with her data proving FB ignores hate speech and misinformation, because it stimulates users and improves their bottom line.

    Why she did it:
    “Person after person after person has tried to tackle this within Facebook, and ground themselves to the ground.”

  3. Nina says:

    I worked for Google and this is true for them as well

  4. LaraW” says:

    Surprise surprise

  5. Jezebeelzebub says:

    I wonder if that has anything do with FB shitting the bed today…. I guess it could just be me, though, right?

  6. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    Everyone should kick FB to the curb.

    • Jaded says:

      I wish we had a like button!

    • Traveler says:

      I despise facebook.
      I do all I can to avoid supporting (f)uckerberg in any way. Just his connection to Peter Thiel, and all that comes with that, gives me the chills (eff paypal too, btw).

  7. Jaded says:

    Interestingly enough, Facebook is down right now in many countries….hmmmm.

    • StellainNH says:

      I just tried posting a cute photo of my dog on Instaface and it’s just spinning their wheels. That’s why!

  8. thecookingpan says:

    What about Twitter? Bell Pottinger *cough*

  9. CV says:

    everyone should just #DeleteFacebook

  10. And of course Facebook is down right now. Hmmmmm

  11. teehee says:

    I stopped FB years ago- don’t miss it. All of social media is a drain of energy,- you work to create and maintain a curated, false snippet of what you want others to believe is you and your life.
    How about you just enjoy your life. No one is ever gonna approve of it all nor should they, and nor should you be making them.

  12. Still in my robe says:

    For all the evils of social media, one truly amazing thing it has allowed is for people with rare medical conditions to connect and share important information with each other. For so many of these conditions, your outcomes are only as good as the so-called “expert” in your geographic area, and for some, the outcomes are suffering so bad that people are suicidal. As the parent of a medically complex child, I shudder at what my child’s life would be right now if I didn’t have that community via Facebook telling me the questions I needed to ask, the full scope of issues my child’s medical team should be analyzing, and what to do in a non-911 but still serious issue with daily medical condition management. I’d quit Facebook in a heartbeat, but supportive groups like this have been a savior for my household sanity for years now, and Facebook is a far more seamless way to connect than the clunkiness and keyword search invisibility of other message boards.

    • M says:

      I have had the same experience. My son has several medical conditions and FB groups have provided so much support and information.

    • Erin says:

      I am in the exact same position as you. I would be off of it wasn’t for my child and the only people I’m “friends” with on there are parents from the same group. I’m not even friends with my family or real life friends.

    • Monica says:

      Social media is OK. FB as the only game in town is not. It needs to have the hell regulated out of it.

  13. ms says:

    Do I believe Facebook put profit over everything, yes.

    But this doesn’t make sense. They may not have been at Menlo Park, but that’s not the only place where content moderation is happening. They outsource a huge amount of it to multiple companies.

    • Lurker25 says:

      Doesn’t seem like you understand what’s in play. This isn’t about content moderation, which is very simple and done here on CB.

      This is about the algorithm (s) that decide what gets shown to the widest audiences.

      She’s saying the tech isn’t neutral, as FB had long maintained. People at FB *knowingly* make sure the stuff that gets the most clicks gets the most distribution. Because clicks=$$. And a post about why it’s good to mask up isn’t going to get clicks like a post about the big pharma conspiracy to push magnets in vaccines or whatever will.

  14. Renee says:

    The question is….will people quit Facebook? As long as people use it, Facebook will continue their bad actions.

  15. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    What’s Facebook? Lol seriously though, I quit them around a decade ago and put a checkmark that I wanted to receive nothing from them (news, etc.). I hate it that my son has to use FB for his Oculus, but see? FB intrusion. And in all honesty, corporate profits above all else? Is anyone shocked and dismayed? Panama and Pandora papers…anyone shocked and dismayed? Will anything change? Well… I’m pretty sure it’ll LOOK like the appearance of change.

    • Traveler says:

      Palmer Luckey (designer of oculus rift) another right wing cretin of mega proportions. It pained me to have to use their oculus rift VR headsets while teaching my 3D modeling/virtual reality courses.

  16. Izzy says:

    Maybe this is why all of FB’s platforms hit the skids today: FB, Messenger, IG, and WhatsApp. The apps and the web platform. That has got to be coordinated.