Former member of Facebook’s Integrity team alleges platform let hate speech & misinformation flourish
There could be more troubled waters for Facebook as a new whistle-blower alleged that the social network giant. A former member of Facebook’s Integrity team has alleged that “the company prizes growth and profits over combating hate speech, misinformation and other threats to the public”, reports The Washington Post.
The whistle-blower has alleged in the complaint that Facebook did not warn investors about illegal activity and further accused the social media giant of repeatedly prioritizing profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation.
The whistle-blower complaint also criticized the social network “for not being aggressive enough in addressing the evidence that the platform was being used by military officials in Myanmar to spread hate speech during mass killings of the minority Rohingya ethnic group”.
“I, working for Facebook, had been a party to genocide,” the whistle-blower wrote in the affidavit.
According to a copy of the affidavit obtained by The Post, the allegations echoed many of those made by the first whistle-blower Frances Haugen.
“Haugen, like the new whistle-blower, also made allegations to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which oversees publicly traded companies,” the report said on Friday.
In a statement, Facebook spokesperson Erin McPike said: “This is beneath the Washington Post, which during the last five years competed ferociously with the New York Times over the number of corroborating sources its reporters could find for single anecdotes in deeply reported, intricate stories. It sets a dangerous precedent to hang an entire story on a single source making a wide range of claims without any apparent corroboration.”
Earlier this month, Haugen, a former product manager in Facebook’s civic integrity group, testified before the US Congress about a trove of internal documents she gave to The Wall Street Journal.
One of her main arguments was that Facebook’s business of selling ads based on engagement leads it to keep users on the service at all costs, even when it knows that the content they are engaging with is harmful.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), chair of the Senate Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on consumer protection, has demanded that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg or Instagram chief Adam Mosseri should testify before the Senate to explain how the company plans to protect kids in light of new reports that platforms like Instagram can encourage harmful behaviour in teenagers.
Billionaire tech critic Pierre Omidyar who founded e-commerce platform eBay is reportedly financially supporting Facebook whistle-blower Haugen to take on the social media giant.
[With Inputs from IANS]
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