Tuesday 05 October 2021
Report – Muhammad Safwat:
Today, former Facebook employee Frances Hogan ended her three-hour testimonial before US lawmakers amid praise from Democrats and Republicans in the Senate for her bravery in exposing the social media giant’s abuse.
The beginning.. Leaked documents incriminating Facebook
It was only hours after the crisis of the “Facebook Great Failure” that the social media giant was with a date with another earthquake related to its conflicting policies and interests, as “Hoggin” leaked a set of internal research and documents to the American newspaper “The Wall Street Journal” explaining that Facebook is harmful to mental health. Teens suffer from massive conflicts of interest.
Nobody knows what’s going on inside Facebook
At the start of her hearing, the former employee said her motivation to speak out came after the 2020 US presidential election: “I moved on because I realized a scary truth: No one outside Facebook knows what’s going on inside. The company’s leadership is hiding vital information from the public, the US government, and shareholders. and governments around the world.
Hugin, a 37-year-old data engineer who worked for companies, most notably Google and Pinterest, listed violations and facts she experienced and obtained documents to prove during the session, stressing that the crisis requires an exit from the previous regulatory frameworks.
Facebook harms children and puts profit over moral responsibility
She explained that the company’s platforms (Facebook and Instagram) harm children, fuel division, weaken democracy and prioritize profit over moral responsibility, noting that the company’s internal research shows that at least 5% of teens on Instagram are addicted to the service, and the research suggests that it is likely that more much more than that.
She stated that the platform is a “big problem” for children, public safety and democracy, adding that there is a clear conflict of interest between what is good for the public and what is good for Facebook, and the company is choosing “improvements in its own interests to increase its profits.”
She pointed out that internal research reveals that children suffer from problems that harm their mental health because of the content presented to them that is inappropriate for their age, because their parents cannot direct them. She stressed that schools and the National Institutes of Health should provide solid information so that parents can learn how to better support their children.
She indicated that part of what Facebook is doing is hiding information that would allow lawmakers to set controls and laws that address existing problems, calling on Congress to put in place new regulatory frameworks, including amending Article 230 of the Communications Ethics Act (a legislation that protects platforms from taking responsibility for what they do). users shared it on its pages), adding that Facebook had a “moral bankruptcy declaration”.
Lack of staff and a lot of offensive content
Despite the huge profits achieved by the company, Houjin revealed the lack of employees and the reliance on artificial intelligence in many of the operations of its platforms, attributing the causes of a number of problems facing the company to the lack of employees.
She revealed that artificial intelligence only handles or captures a small percentage of the offensive content on Facebook’s platforms. It is understaffed. And that this deficiency constitutes a vicious circle of problems at the platform level.
She urged Congress to take action to prevent the damage caused by social media companies, stressing that: “Congress action is needed. They will not solve this crisis without your help.”
Select a new hearing to hear
Although the hearing is over, it doesn’t seem like the last time Hogan will sit in the halls of Congress, as Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, who chairs the Senate Consumer Protection Trade Subcommittee, has proposed a separate hearing on national security concerns.
Over the past years, US lawmakers have called for regulatory frameworks for Facebook and other social networks to counter criticism that tech giants are ignoring privacy issues and providing ideal platforms for spreading misinformation and harming the well-being of young people.
In turn, the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection and Data Security found that Facebook insisted on harmful advertisements for children, adding that the company was targeting 13-year-olds with advertisements for weight loss. In the hearing, the committee considered that Facebook is not safe for children, and that the company did not commit not to use features that allow targeting children at the age of 10.
Dismantling Facebook is not a solution
And the leaked Facebook documents refused to dismantle the company, explaining that dismantling it will not end the potential risks it causes, and that the solutions lie in regulating the algorithms of communication sites, and placing more stringent restrictions on artificial intelligence in them to better purify the content, otherwise the dismantling of existing communication platforms will appear. Then others will not solve the crisis.
There have been calls in America and Europe to break up Facebook, due to its handling of disinformation and data privacy practices on its platforms.
“Reader. Infuriatingly humble travel enthusiast. Extreme food scholar. Writer. Communicator.”