Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen‘s testimony in front of Congress on Tuesday might be a game-changer. Some experts say that the company may finally face the music after seeming invincible for years and that Facebook needs oversight.
Facebook needs Oversight; It has been facing criticism for a very long time, but for the very first time, the opposition seems united and looking in the same direction.
Frances Haugen says Facebook causes harm in different ways
In her testimony before the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, Haugen, 37, made a simple case — Facebook is harmful to the planet.
Interestingly, the damage that the company is allegedly causing is on several different levels. Since Facebook reportedly failed to invest properly in its counterintelligence departments, foreign actors used this to their advantage.
The data expert from Iowa said countries like China and Iran had used Facebook to track their enemies. Haugen said her team knew that China was using the platform to track Uyghur populations around the world.
Iran also did espionage via Facebook. Based on what she had to say, without a better surveillance system, Facebook is a danger to the United States’ national security.
She also covered the harmful effects of Facebook on young people. According to Haugen, the platform knows that children have access to content that can only be harmful and does nothing about it.
The problem starts at the top for the Facebook whistleblower, and she is pointing the finger directly at founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. She said the platform has put “astronomical profits before people.”
She believes that Zuckerberg puts profit over things like fighting disinformation. Facebook needs Oversight.
Facebook tries to fight back, but concedes ground
After all the public relations damage was done, Facebook tried to fight back and attempted to discredit some of Haugen’s statements.
Zuckerberg said that the picture that is currently being painted of his company is false. Lena Pietsch, the director of policy communications, said that Haugen is misinformed because she only worked at Facebook for two years and she was never in direct contact with top executives.
However, she did admit that the Internet needs to be reformed to address some of the concerns that have been brought forward.
Facebook is claiming that some regulations might be necessary, and this is a significant concession and could signal that the company knows where all this scrutiny is going.
Bipartisan anger in Congress at Facebook might lead to legislative action
People in Congress have found an issue where the anger is bipartisan. From the way children are treated on the platform to the constant invasion of privacy, lawmakers are talking about taking action.
Subcommittee Chairman Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a Democrat, wants Zuckerberg to testify. Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) went even further by saying that the businessman’s time is up. Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee focused on the lack of regard for children. Another Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana wondered if Facebook should be broken up.
Surprisingly, the whistleblower has come out against such an idea. Haugen says government oversight would go a long way in addressing some of the problems.
She wants algorithms to play a smaller part in how content is distributed. Some activists are pushing for legislative efforts to come to fruition before 2022. Facebook needs Oversight.
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