In recent weeks, the social media giant Facebook has had a difficult time, with a series of revelations made by its former employees (whistleblower) Frances Haugen.
Haugen revealed that the company’s leadership knows that social media has exacerbated various social problems that occur around the world, from human trafficking to inter-group violence.
This wave of revelations is unlikely to subside. This week’s novelties show that Facebook’s commitment to freedom of expression is being pushed aside for profit. In Vietnam, for example, the repressive government there demands that citizens’ disobedience be silenced on social media.
The report also shows that Facebook knows that its algorithms are directing users to information with extreme content, such as the QAnon conspiracy theory and false anti-vaccine claims, but that Facebook is taking no action to prevent this.
In statements to various media channels, the technology company has defended itself, saying it allocates substantial resources to ensuring the safety of users of its platform and arguing that most of the information journalists and government officials receive does not represent the real context.
At a telephone conference to discuss the company’s quarterly earnings Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed that recent media coverage had misrepresented the company.
“Good-meaning criticism helps us get better,” Zuckerberg said. “But I think what we are witnessing is a coordinated effort to selectively leak documents that give a false image of our company. The reality is, we have an open culture, where we encourage discussion and research about our work so we can make progress on complex issues.”
With the new revelations as well as unrelated business challenges, Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, will be faced with a number of troubling issues in the coming weeks. [jm/lt]