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Facebook made a profit before curbing hate speech: Whistleblower



(Reuters) – A Facebook whistleblower on Sunday accused the social media giant of repeatedly prioritizing profits over tightening hate speech and misinformation, saying her lawyers have filed at least eight complaints with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. [19659002] Frances Haugen, who worked as product manager for citizen information on Facebook, appeared on Sunday on the CBS television program "60 Minutes", and revealed her identity as the whistleblower who left the documents that formed the basis of a Wall Street Journal – investigation and a Senate hearing on Instagram's harm to teenage girls.

Facebook has been on fire after the Journal published a series of stories based on Facebook internal presentations and emails showing that the social media company contributed to increased polarization online when it made changes to the content algorithm, failed to take action to reduce vaccine hesitation and be aware that Instagram harmed the mental health of teenage girls.

Ms. Haugen will testify before a Senate committee on Tuesday in a hearing entitled "Protecting Kids Online" about the company's research on Instagram's effect on young users.

"There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook," she said during the interview. "And Facebook repeatedly chose to optimize for its own interests such as making more money."

Ms Haugen, who previously worked on Google and Pinterest, said that Facebook has lied to the public about the progress made in tightening hate speech and misinformation on its platform.

She added that Facebook was used to help to organize the Capitol riot on January 6, after the company shut down security systems after the US presidential election.

While she believed no one on Facebook was "evil", she said the company had the wrong incentives.

"We continue to make significant improvements in addressing the spread of misinformation and harmful content," a Facebook spokesperson said. doing nothing is just not true. ”

On Sunday, Mrs Haugen's lawyer John Tye, founder of the legal non-profit Whistleblower Aid, confirmed a report by the New York Times that some of the internal documents had been shared with attorneys general from several states, including California, Vermont and Tennessee.

Mr. Tye said the complaints were filed with the SEC on the basis that Facebook, as a listed company, is obligated not to lie to its investors or even withhold material information.

The complaints compare Facebook's internal research with its public statements on issues it investigated. , according to the 60-minute interview.

Mr Tye said Haugen has also spoken to lawmakers in Europe and is scheduled to appear before the British Parliament later this month, hoping to stimulate oversight.

He and Mrs Haugen are also interested in talking to legislators from countries in Asia, as many of the issues that motivated Haugen originate from the region, incl. usive the ethnic violence in Myanmar, he added.

Whistleblower Aid, representing Haugen pro-bono, has also launched a GoFundMe to raise $ 50,000 for her legal fees.


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