Facebook whistleblower blames platform for Capitol riot

New York: Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen claimed that the company has not taken enough steps to remove hateful content and misinformation from the social media platform. She also alleged that the platform’s decision to dissolve the integrity team has contributed to Capitol riots.

According to a report published in CNN,  Haugen (37) who was an employee at the company as a product manager alleged that the company was aware that the platform is being used to spread hate, violence, and misinformation.

Continuing her allegation against the company, she said that there exist conflicts of interest between what is good for the company and good for the public.

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Capitol riot

The attack on the Capitol building on January 6 took place while Congress was in session considering the ratification of the electoral college votes electing Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President.

Haugen alleged that Facebook’s decision to dissolve the integrity team after the 2020 presidential election has contributed to the riots.

Giving the details of the Facebook algorithm, Haugen said that the platform is optimizing for content that gets more engagement and reactions. Despite knowing that hateful content trigger anger, the platform does not want to change the algorithm as it will reduce the time users spend on the platform and thereby will result in a decline in revenue, Haugen added.

Earlier, Haugen registered complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission against the company. Later, she also shared research documents with the Wall Street Journal.

It may be mentioned that Haugen has earlier worked with top tech companies such as Google and Pinterst.  She joined Facebook in 2019.

FB denies whistleblower’s claims

On Saturday, Facebook executive Nick Clegg, in a defiant internal memo, said that a former employee will accuse the company of contributing to the US Capitol riot.

In the memo, Facebook’s Vice President of Global Affairs Clegg had written that she will accuse the tech giant on “60 Minutes” of contributing to polarisation in the US.

Clegg had stated that the programme will “suggest that the extraordinary steps we took for the 2020 elections were relaxed too soon and contributed to the horrific events of January 6 in the Capitol”.

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