Whistleblower urges regulation to tackle Facebook ‘disaster’

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Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen testifies during a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing entitled ´Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower´ on Capitol Hill October 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. — AFP
Former Facebook worker Frances Haugen testifies throughout a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation listening to entitled ´Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower´ on Capitol Hill October 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. — AFP

WASHINGTON: A Facebook whistleblower informed US lawmakers Tuesday that the social media big fuels division, harms youngsters and urgently wants to be regulated, drawing pledges Congress would take up long-delayed motion.

Ex-employee Frances Haugen testified on Capitol Hill after she leaked reams of inner analysis to authorities and The Wall Street Journal, which has fueled certainly one of Facebook’s most critical crises but.

“I believe that Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy,” Haugen informed a Senate sub-committee.

“Congressional action is needed. They won’t solve this crisis without your help,” she added.

In her testimony, she famous the hazard of the ability within the arms of a service that’s woven into the day by day lives of so many individuals.

“The company intentionally hides vital information from the public, from the US government and from governments around the world,” Haugen’s assertion mentioned.

She spoke lower than a day after Facebook, its photo-sharing app Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp went offline for roughly seven hours, hitting doubtlessly billions of customers and highlighting world dependence on its providers.

“Here’s my message for (Facebook CEO) Mark Zuckerberg. Your time of invading our privacy, promoting toxic content and preying on children and teens is over,” mentioned Senator Ed Markey.

“Congress will be taking action… we will not allow your company to harm our children, our families and our democracy anymore,” he added.

Senator Amy Klobuchar mentioned she sees the whistleblower disclosures because the long-needed push to get Congress transferring.

“I think the time has come for action, and I think you are the catalyst for that action,” she informed Haugen.

US lawmakers for years have threatened to regulate Facebook and different social media platforms to handle criticisms that the tech giants trample on privateness, present a megaphone for harmful misinformation and injury younger folks’s well-being.

Facebook has pushed again laborious in opposition to the whistleblower revelations and attacked Haugen’s information on Tuesday.

Haugen “did not work on child safety or Instagram or research these issues and has no direct knowledge of the topic from her work at Facebook,” tweeted Andy Stone, a spokesman for the corporate.

‘I like Instagram’

Haugen, a 37-year-old information scientist from Iowa, has labored for firms together with Google and Pinterest — however mentioned in an interview Sunday with CBS information present “60 Minutes” that Facebook was “substantially worse” than something she had seen earlier than.

Facebook’s vp of coverage and world affairs Nick Clegg vehemently pushed again on the assertion its platforms are “toxic” for teenagers, days after a tense, hours-long congressional listening to by which US lawmakers grilled the corporate over its impression on the psychological well being of younger customers.

Facebook late Monday blamed the outage on configuration modifications it made to routers that coordinate community site visitors between its information facilities.

“This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centers communicate, bringing our services to a halt,” Facebook vp of infrastructure Santosh Janardhan mentioned in a publish.

In addition to the disruption to folks, companies and others that depend on the corporate’s instruments, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took a monetary hit.

Fortune’s billionaire monitoring web site late Monday mentioned Zuckerberg’s private fortune plunged by practically $6 billion from the prior day to land at slightly below $117 billion.

Some folks rejoiced at Facebook’s instruments being offline, however some complained to AFP that the outage had triggered bother for them each professionally and personally.

“I love Instagram. It’s the app I use the most, especially for my job,” mentioned Millie Donnelly, neighborhood supervisor for a non-profit.

“So professionally, it’s definitely a step back and then personally, I just am always on the app.”

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