Facebook Whistleblower Returns To Capitol Hill

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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen went backmost to Congress to speech astir reforming contented liability laws.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen returned to Congress to sermon legislative proposals to betterment Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That’s the liability shield that protects societal media companies from being sued by users for their contented moderation decisions, similar removing immoderate posts and keeping others up. 

“Facebook’s profit-optimizing instrumentality is generating self-harm and self-hate — particularly for susceptible groups,” said Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. 

Haugen past period released a trove of interior Facebook documents and probe showing, among different things, that Facebook executives knew its hate-speech occupation was wider than they disclosed, and that its Instagram level was making assemblage representation issues worse for astir one-third of teen girls.  

Lawmakers deliberation these documents could unfastened a way for authorities to overhaul Section 230, successful bid to springiness users a ineligible instrumentality to clasp societal media companies accountable erstwhile they service them harmful content, oregon erstwhile their platforms origin real-world harm for users.  

Haugen and different Facebook critics told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that Facebook presently benefits from Section 230 due to the fact that it shields it from accountability astir changing its content-serving algorithms, which person been shown to bash things similar prioritizing aggravated contented that is much apt to incorporate misinformation, due to the fact that it gets much engagement.   

“Facebook does not person information by design, and it chooses to tally the motor blistery due to the fact that it maximizes their profit,” Haugen said. “the effect is simply a strategy that amplifies division, extremism and polarization.” 

“We person to spell to Facebook and inquire for benevolence successful dealing with their harms,” said Rashad Robinson, President of Color of Change. “Congress has done this with different industries, we request make rules to clasp them accountable. Whether it’s merchandise design, oregon successful advertising, Facebook is wholly not accountable.” 

Energy and Commerce committee members person released respective proposals to alteration the law. One measure would bounds 230 liability protections erstwhile a level knows that its algorithms are promoting recklessly harmful content. Another would forestall platforms from utilizing 230 arsenic a defence successful civilian rights and coercion cases.  

All successful all, witnesses astatine the proceeding stressed that enactment needed to beryllium taken now. 

“We person virtually been implicit a decennary without large reforms for these companies,” said Jim Steyer, Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media. “And we've assumed that successful immoderate cases that they would self-police oregon self-regulate. Well, that's not true, and the grounds is clear." 

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has said helium supports immoderate changes to Section 230, but wants immoderate caller regulations to necessitate that platforms show that they person systems successful spot to place unlawful contented and region it.