Frances Haugen, a data scientist who worked for Facebook, delivered this Tuesday to the U.S. Congress specific information on activities developed within the company and that could open a “Pandora’s Box” of irregularities within the social network.
Haugen pointed out that the documents she provided “prove that Facebook has repeatedly misled the public (…) about the safety of children, the efficacy of its artificial intelligence systems and its role in spreading divisive and extreme messages.”
Haugen also confessed that he anonymously reported Facebook to federal authorities because the company’s own investigations show how it magnifies hate and misinformation.
“Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy,” Haugen told Congress.
“Almost no one knows what’s going on inside”
She further said that “almost no one knows what’s going on inside Facebook” and noted that the company “intentionally hides vital information from the public and society.”
In her speech, she called on the Senate to take action to control the impact of Facebook: “When we realized tobacco companies were hiding the harms it caused, the government took action. When we figured out cars were safer with seatbelts, the government took action,” she said.
Haugen said a 2018 change made to the “content flow” contributed to further division and rancor on a network that was supposedly created to bring people together.
In the interview, she said she had left Facebook earlier this year after becoming exasperated with the company. Before leaving, she copied a series of internal memos and documents.
Facebook claimed that the leak is misleading and is a biased interpretation of the data, and that it overlooked an investigation that the social network itself conducted with “positive” results.
This Monday, October 4, the ‘world’ of social networks owned by Mark Zuckerberg presented failures worldwide, so that Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp applications stopped working for several hours.