Facebook Whistleblower Presses Case with British Lawmakers
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen told British lawmakers Monday that the social media giant “unquestionably” amplifies online hate.
In testimony to a parliamentary committee in London, the former Facebook employee echoed what she told U.S. senators earlier this month.
Haugen said the media giant fuels online hate and extremism and does not have any incentive to change its algorithm to promote less divisive content.
She argued that as a result, Facebook may end up sparking more violent unrest around the world.
Haugen said the algorithm Facebook has designed to promote more engagement among users “prioritizes and amplifies divisive and polarizing extreme content” as well as concentrates it.
Facebook did not respond to Haugen’s testimony Monday. Earlier this month, Haugen addressed a Senate committee and said the company is harmful. Facebook rejected her accusations.
“The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” said Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Haugen’s testimony comes as a coalition of new organizations Monday began publishing stories on Facebook’s practices based on internal company documents that Haugen secretly copied and made public.
Haugen is a former Facebook product manager who has turned whistleblower.
Earlier this month when Haugen addressed U.S. lawmakers, she argued that a federal regulator was needed to oversee large internet companies like Facebook.
British lawmakers are considering creating such a national regulator as part of a proposed online safety bill. The legislation also proposes fining companies like Facebook up to 10% of their global revenue for any violations of government policies.
Representatives from Facebook and other social media companies are set to address British lawmakers on Thursday.
Haugen is scheduled to meet with European Union policymakers in Brussels next month.
Some information in this report came from the Associated Press and Reuters.