Beautiful Virgin Islands


‘Is Facebook evil?’ Big Tech whistleblower goes for high drama in anonymity-bashing UK testimony

‘Is Facebook evil?’ Big Tech whistleblower goes for high drama in anonymity-bashing UK testimony

Facebook is inherently "biased toward bad actors," whistleblower Frances Haugen warned the UK Parliament, blaming the platform for stoking unrest in various parts of the world and suggesting tighter outside control as solution.

Haugen placed the blame for violence in Myanmar and Ethiopia, as well as the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, squarely at Facebook's feet during a Monday hearing before the Parliament, arguing that such atrocities were merely "part of the opening chapters of a novel that is going to be horrific to read."

"Engagement-based ranking prioritizes and amplifies divisive, polarizing content," she said, claiming that Facebook could ease up on the division if it was willing to sacrifice a few dollars here and there. However, "Facebook is unwilling to give up those slivers for our safety," she declared – and the results of continuing down the platform's current path would be disastrous.

Denying her goal is to force further censorship on the already tightly-controlled platform, Haugen argued that serving up content from family and friends and requiring users to cut and paste “divisive content” instead of sharing with a single click could cut back on the sharing of “hateful” material.

“We are literally subsidizing hate,” Haugen insisted – equating promoting engagement with promoting hate – because “anger and hate are the easiest way to grow on Facebook.” Continuing, she claimed it was “substantially cheaper to run an angry hateful divisive ad than it is to run a compassionate, empathetic ad.”

Asked whether the platform was “making hate worse,” she agreed it was “unquestionably” doing just that – though neither she nor her interlocutor paused to define “hate” or provide context as to what “making it worse” might look like.

The inquiry took a notably moralizing pitch, with MP John Nicolson (SNP) taking the soapbox to declare, “Facebook is failing to prevent harm to children, it’s failing to present the spread of disinformation, it’s failing to prevent hate speech. It does have the power to deal with these issues, it’s just choosing not to, which makes me wonder if Facebook is just fundamentally evil.”

"Is Facebook evil?"


“I cannot see into the hearts of men,” Haugen responded. The company was full of “good people” being led to “bad actions,” with those willing to look the other way promoted more rapidly than those who complained, she insisted. In general, she argued that the supposedly devastating harms of Facebook were caused by negligence, rather than malevolence.


Rather than chase users away with censorship and further intrusion into their privacy, Haugen insisted, government regulation could “force Facebook back into a place where it was more pleasant to be on Facebook and that could be good for long-term growth of the company.”

While she acknowledged that about 60% of new accounts being opened on the platform were not made by real people, suggesting not only their fellow users but investors in the platform itself were being duped, she failed to explain how screening for such phony accounts could avoid intruding on the privacy of “real” users. Such duping, after all, is going on at no small scale, to hear her speak – CEO Mark Zuckerberg “has unilateral control of 3 billion people,” she told the Parliament.

Despite being good, conscientious people, Haugen continued, the Facebook employees were being corrupted by a system built on bad incentives, in which every penny of profit must be prioritized over the well-being of users for whom one wrong move could send them spiraling down a rabbit hole of extremism.

Facebook didn’t “intend” to send people down such holes or otherwise radicalize them, Haugen stressed, arguing the complexity of the algorithms was responsible for new users being sucked into extremist vortexes. However, she admitted the platform pushed users toward the most extreme version of their interests, since controversy gets clicks.

Haugen insisted the platform was “very cautious” about how it added new forms of “hate speech” into the platform’s compendium of offense, calling for an improvement on “content-based solutions” that took into account national variations of phrases in the same language, such as differences in slang between Scotland and the US.

However, she admitted Facebook focused most of its misinformation-fighting efforts on so-called “tier zero” countries like the US, Brazil, and India, leaving other countries like Pakistan, Myanmar and Ethiopia to their own devices – to what she suggested were disastrous and in some cases genocidal results. This is also after the company caught Israeli influence operators meddling with elections across Africa, Latin America and Asia, raising the question of whether certain countries were being permitted to get away with meddling more than others.

Ultimately, Haugen seemed to blame Facebook users for what happened to them, noting that the ads that got the most engagement – and were thus cheapest – were the most likely to be shared by users precisely because they appealed to feelings of hatred, anger and divisiveness. All Facebook had to do was align itself with the “public good” and not lie to the public, she argued. Barring that, “better oversight” was required, she said.

Haugen praised the UK for its efforts to rein in Facebook’s abuses and hinted that she was “a little excited” about the company’s movement into “augmented reality.”

“The danger of Facebook is not individuals saying bad things,” she claimed, “it is about the systems of amplification that disproportionately give individuals saying extreme polarizing things the largest megaphone in the room.”

Journalists who’d spent years trying to convince the world that Facebook was a menace to democracy felt vindicated, posting links to both Haugen’s testimony and the flood of documents she released.


However, not everyone was taken in by Haugen’s apparent contrition on the part of her employer. Journalist Glenn Greenwald reminded her growing fan-base that her well-heeled whistleblowing campaign was financed by Russiagate-loving billionaire Pierre Omidyar.


Omidyar funded Greenwald’s former employer, the Intercept, supposedly to make NSA Edward Snowden’s own whistleblowing documents available to the world. Over a decade later, just 5% of that material has been seen by the public.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Beautiful Virgin Islands
0:00
0:00
Close
ICC Seeks Arrest Warrants for Israeli and Hamas Leaders
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
UK's Infected Blood Scandal: Conclusion Nears After Seven Years
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
Julian Assange Granted Right to Challenge US Extradition
BVI Freedom Song
Congo Army Thwarts Attempted Coup Involving Americans and a British Citizen
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
Ireland's Homeless Gain Voting Rights
VIRGIN ISLANDS REGGAE CARIBBEAN RIDDIMZ
Blinken orders crackdown on Israel-Hamas leaks
Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins - Anthony Brown w FBCG Combined Choir
Julian Assange Faces US Extradition: Key Facts
'Stand by Me' performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir
Jacob Zuma Takes Campaign to ANC Stronghold Soweto
National Anthem of the British Virgin Islands - Oh, Beautiful Virgin
Attempted Assassination of Slovakia PM Robert Fico: Investigation Ongoing
Hello Dolly
What Happens If an Iranian President Dies in Office?
for KING & COUNTRY - Amen (Reborn) [feat. Lecrae & The WRLDFMS Tony Wi
Spain Recalls Ambassador After Argentina President's Remarks
Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up
Rishi Sunak Faces Cabinet Backlash Over Proposed Changes to Foreign Student Visas
Yes He Can
Rwanda Denies Entry to Human Rights Researcher
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Reportedly Killed in Helicopter Crash
Unforgettable
Blue Origin Resumes Space Tourism with 90-Year-Old Ed Dwight
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
Rishi Sunak and Wife Akshata Murty Wealthier Than King Charles
The Lord's Prayer
New Dutch Government Drives Wedge Through EU Liberals
THE GOD MOVEMENT...BEAUTIFUL BVI
Iranian President Raisi Missing After Helicopter Goes Down
Siyahamba
Freemasons and ‘Global War Party’ Accused of Conspiring Against Georgia
Ray Charles And The Voices Of Jubilaton, Oh, Happy Day
Poland Supports Rolls-Royce's Nuclear Power Plant Initiative
Ramblin' Rose
European Ports Overflow with Unsold Electric Vehicles
Protoje - Who Knows ft. Chronixx
Esprit Files for Bankruptcy in Europe, Putting Hundreds of Jobs at Risk
Pressure - Virgin Islands Nice
Chevron Halts North Sea Drilling Amid Rising Tax Burden
Phil Wickham - House Of The Lord
Jeremy Hunt Accused of Exaggerating Conservatives' Economic Record
My God Is Real (Yes, God Is Real)
Victoria Atkins Discusses Historical Gender Bias in the NHS
The Lion King Circle of Life by LEBO M. — LIVE at the HAVASI Symphonic
Dublin and Monaghan Bombings 50th Anniversary: Calls for Justice
Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In
Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murty’s Wealth Rises to £651 Million
Kanye West Sunday Service - hallelujah, salvation, and glory
New Caledonia Riots Escalate After French Voting Rights Change
Jonathan Nelson - I Believe (Island Medley
Renters Face Fierce Competition as Listing Times Shrink
From The Virgin Islands Sqad Up
Surge in Fake Science: 19 journals shut down due to fraudulent papers from 'paper mills'
Common, John Legend - Glory
Global Birthrates Decline, Raising Economic and Social Concerns
Anthony Evans vs. Jesse Campbell - If I Ain't Got You
Boeing Faces Possible Prosecution Over 737 MAX Settlement Violation
I have a dream, MLK inspiring speech
Prisoner Escapes in France as Two Officers Killed in Van Ambush
Aretha Franklin, Marvis Staples - Oh Happy Day
German Court Rules AfD Can Be Monitored for Extremism
BVI Freedom Song
Jacob Rees-Mogg Criticizes Bank of England’s Inflation Strategy
Billy Preston - You Can't Beat God Giving (Live)
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Promote Invictus Games in Nigeria
VIRGIN ISLANDS REGGAE CARIBBEAN RIDDIMZ
UK Arms Ban on Israel Would Aid Hamas, Says Cameron
Oh Happy Day Edwin Hawkins - Anthony Brown w FBCG Combined Choir
US Regulators Probe Credit Card Reward Schemes
'Stand by Me' performed by Karen Gibson and The Kingdom Choir
Labour Vows to End Rwanda Deportation Scheme/Scam
National Anthem of the British Virgin Islands - Oh, Beautiful Virgin
Exonerated Andrew Malkinson Faces Hardship Awaiting Compensation
Hello Dolly
India Poised to Surpass Japan as 4th Largest Economy
for KING & COUNTRY - Amen (Reborn) [feat. Lecrae & The WRLDFMS Tony Wi
UN General Assembly Approves Palestinian Membership Bid
Bob Marley - Get Up Stand Up
Biden to Impose Tariffs on Chinese Electric Vehicles
Yes He Can
Cyberattack Disrupts Major US Healthcare Network
What A Friend We Have In Jesus
McDonald's Introduces $5 Meal Deal to Attract Customers
Unforgettable
Protesters Attempt to Storm Tesla's German Factory
Touch The Hem Of His Garment
The United Kingdom reports it has emerged from recession
The Lord's Prayer
Teens Forming Friendships with AI Chatbots
THE GOD MOVEMENT...BEAUTIFUL BVI
WhatsApp Rolls Out Major Redesign
Siyahamba
Neuralink's First Brain Implant Experiences Issue
Ray Charles And The Voices Of Jubilaton, Oh, Happy Day
×