Iowa Native and Facebook Whistleblower Shares Startling Info
Frances Haugen, an Iowa City native, was revealed in a "60 Minutes" interview on Sunday to be the woman that anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement that Facebook's own research shows that it magnifies hate and misinformation. She said that whenever there would be a conflict between what was good for the public and what was good for the corporation, the social media behemoth would always choose what was best for their own interests.
“Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety,” she said.
Haugen asked upon hire to work in the department that fights misinformation because she had lost a friend to online conspiracy theories. She said that when Joe Biden beat Donald Trump last year, Facebook switched off measures meant to combat disinformation, which she claims contributed to the fatal Jan. 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol.
“I don’t trust that they’re willing to actually invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous,” Haugen stated.
The issue at hand is the algorithms that dictate what shows up on users’ news feeds and how they favor hateful or misleading content. According to Haugen, a 2018 adjustment to the material flow resulted in increased division and ill will in a network that was originally designed to bring people together.
Despite the animosity that the new algorithms provoked, Facebook discovered that they helped keep users coming back — a trend that helped the social media company sell more of the digital advertisements that constitute the majority of its advertising revenue.
According to FactSet analyst projections, Facebook's yearly income has more than doubled from $56 billion in 2018 to a predicted $119 billion this year. Meanwhile, the company's market capitalization has increased from $375 billion at the end of 2018 to almost $1 trillion currently.