Facebook Whistleblower Outlines Conflicting Motivations in the Company's Approach to News Content

by WarriorForum.com Administrator
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Social Media Today asks if Facebook is bad for society, and does the company knowingly contribute to division and angst, in order to maximize usage and profit? This is a key question that's lingered for the past few years, especially since the 2016 US election. And now, we have some insight into Facebook's own thinking on the subject - over the last two weeks, The Wall Street Journal has reported a range of internal studies, and responses to such from Facebook executives, which were leaked by a former Facebook staffer who sought to expose the company's inaction in addressing key flaws in its design.



CBS revealed that former employee to be Frances Haugen, an algorithmic design expert who had worked on Facebook's Civic Integrity team before it was disbanded in the wake of the 2020 US election. According to the information shared by Haugen, Facebook has indeed knowingly avoided taking stronger action to address the worst aspects of its platform due to the impacts any such moves could have on usage, and thus profits.

Facebook has refuted Haugen's claims, but her statements do align with what many previous reports have suggested, underlining key concerns around the societal impacts of Zuckerberg's social behemoth. Haugen's key contention is that Facebook has knowingly overlooked or played down concerning findings, based on its own research, in favor of maintaining usage and user engagement.

"The thing I saw at Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money. Facebook makes more money when you consume more content. People enjoy engaging with things that elicit an emotional reaction. And the more anger that they get exposed to, the more they interact and the more they consume."
#approach #company #conflicting #content #facebook #motivations #news #outlines #whistleblower
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    Facebook - at the top - is about money and control/power. Admitting 'design flaws' is not something Zuckerberg does or has ever done unless under pressure.

    That said, FB is an amazing platform for keeping up with activities of family and friends, finding interesting information, advertising. IMO, it's time to remove the liability protections from social media. Being accountable for what you ALLOW on your platform or what you LIMIT on your platform has a way of improving the quality/ethical standards and fairness of your platform.

    My view is probably not mainstream as I seldom use Facebook except for the connections to family/friend pages. I believe adults should be wise enough to filter the info they find (though many aren't apparently) - yet I am convinced unfettered access to social media is really bad for children/teens.

    The whistleblower stories are interesting because they are what some have said all along - profit/influence over people. Is this really surprising?


    "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.....
    .....according to Facebook Fact Checkers, is it, in fact, a squirrel."
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    • Profile picture of the author WF- Enzo
      Administrator
      That's an oversimplification, but yes true.

      I'd prefer using FB that way too - chat and keeping up with friends. As long as they profit from whatever sketchy content there is on the platform, Mark Z won't budge.

      Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

      Facebook - at the top - is about money and control/power. Admitting 'design flaws' is not something Zuckerberg does or has ever done unless under pressure.

      That said, FB is an amazing platform for keeping up with activities of family and friends, finding interesting information, advertising. IMO, it's time to remove the liability protections from social media. Being accountable for what you ALLOW on your platform or what you LIMIT on your platform has a way of improving the quality/ethical standards and fairness of your platform.

      My view is probably not mainstream as I seldom use Facebook except for the connections to family/friend pages. I believe adults should be wise enough to filter the info they find (though many aren't apparently) - yet I am convinced unfettered access to social media is really bad for children/teens.

      The whistleblower stories are interesting because they are what some have said all along - profit/influence over people. Is this really surprising?


      "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck.....
      .....according to Facebook Fact Checkers, is it, in fact, a squirrel."
      Signature
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[11682559].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author JamesMill
    This was one of the most exciting (at least to me) things to come out recently. If you haven't listened to the podcast interview she did with The Journal, I highly recommend it. It's about time companies like Facebook get outed for their gross misconduct and lack of empathy towards the effects they have on society.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    It is interesting that people on both sides of the 'aisle' have tried to discredit her...but her qualifications and her demeanor and the proof she has provided seem to overcome the objections.
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    Saving one dog will not change the world -
    but the world will be forever changed for that one dog.
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