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Whistleblower Says Facebook Is 'Unquestionably Making Hate Worse'

  Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has said the tech giant is "unquestionably making hate worse." The former Facebook data sc...

 Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has said the tech giant is "unquestionably making hate worse."

The former Facebook data scientist is giving evidence in front of lawmakers in the U.K. who are working on legislation to crack down on harmful online content.

In her opening remarks to the committee, Haugen said Facebook was "very good at dancing with data" and that its engagement-based rankings prioritize extreme content.

"I came forward now, because now is the most critical time to act," she said.

"When we see something like an oil spill, that oil spill doesn't make it harder for society to regulate oil companies. But right now, the failures of Facebook are making it harder for us to regulate Facebook on those failures, looking at the way the platform is moderated today."

Asked if she believed it was likely that there would be more consequences like the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, Haugen said she had "no doubt" that events in Myanmar and Ethiopia are the "opening chapters" of a "horrific" novel.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen appears before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee at the Russell Senate Office Building on October 05, 2021 in Washington, DC.MATT MCCLAIN/POOL-GETTY IMAGES

Her testimony comes as news organizations started publishing stories based on thousands of pages of internal company documents she obtained.

The documents, which Haugen provided to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, allege Facebook prioritized profits over safety and hid its research from investors and the public.

The Associated Press reported that the documents show Facebook engineers raced to tweak internal controls to stop the spread of misinformation and inciteful content during the January 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has hit back at the claim that the company knowingly profits off of misinformation and hateful content.

"At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being," Zuckerberg wrote in a lengthy post on Facebook.

"That's just not true... The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don't want their ads next to harmful or angry content."

Haugen's appearance before lawmakers in the U.K. comes after she testified in the U.S. Senate earlier in October.

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