Four takeaways from Frances Haugen’s complaints


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Haugen, the 37-year-old former Facebook (FB) product manager who worked on civic integrity issues at the company, revealed her identity during a “60 Minutes” segment that aired Sunday night. She has reportedly filed at least eight whistleblower complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that the company is hiding research about its shortcomings from investors and the public. She also shared the documents with regulators and the Wall Street Journal, which published a multi-part investigation showing that Facebook was aware of problems with its apps.
“60 Minutes” published eight of Haugen’s complaints on Monday. Here are four takeaways from the complaints:
Internal documents cited in the complaints show Facebook knows both that hate speech and misinformation on its platforms are having a societal impact and that its “core product mechanics, such as virality recommendations and optimizing for engagement, are a significant part of why these types of speech flourish.”
In one study of the misinformation and polarization risks encountered through recommendations, it took just a few days for Facebook’s algorithm to recommend conspiracy pages to an account following official, verified pages for conservative figures such as Fox News and Donald Trump. It took less than a week for the same account to get a QAnon recommendation. And according to documents entitled “They used to post selfies now they’re trying to reverse the election” and “Does Facebook reward outrage” cited in the complaints, not only do Facebook’s algorithms reward posts on subjects like election fraud conspiracies with likes and shares, but also “‘the more negative comments a piece of content instigates, the higher likelihood for the link to get more traffic.'”
One document entitled “What is Collateral Damage?” even goes so far as to note “the net result is that Facebook, taken as a whole, will be actively (if not necessarily consciously) promoting these types of activities. The…



Source : cnn


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