Mark Zuckerberg Responds to Claims by Facebook Whistleblowers

Mark Zuckerberg Responds to Claims by Facebook Whistleblowers

Frances Haugen’s Testimony That Social Media Company Puts Profits Before People ‘Just Not True’

Mark Zuckerberg has responded to the testimony of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, saying her claims that the company puts profit over people’s safety “are simply not true.”

in a blog post, the founder and CEO of Facebook addressed one of the most damaging statements in Haugen’s keynote address to US senators on Tuesday, Facebook puts “astronomical profits before people.”

“At the heart of these allegations is the idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That is not true, ”he said.

He added: “The argument that we deliberately promote content that infuriates people for profit is deeply illogical. We make money from ads and advertisers are constantly telling us that they don’t want their ads to be alongside harmful or angry content. “

Zuckerberg said many of the claims made by Haugen, and in the Wall Street Journal, based on documents he leaked, “don’t make any sense.” The most damaging report in the WSJ, reiterated at length by Haugen in his testimony before the United States Senate on Tuesday, was that Facebook failed to act on an internal investigation showing that its Instagram app was damaging the mental health of adolescents.

“Many of the statements do not make any sense. If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important topics in the first place? ” he said.

Responding to Haugen’s claims that Facebook’s attempts to limit harmful content were constantly hampered by staff shortages, he said: “If we didn’t mind fighting harmful content, then why would we employ so many more dedicated people? to this than to any other? company in our space, even those bigger than us? If we wanted to hide our results, why would we have set an industry leading standard for transparency and reporting on what we are doing? “

Haugen’s testimony and accompanying statements from US senators at the hearing repeatedly questioned whether Facebook could be trusted. “Facebook has not earned the right to have blind trust in them,” said Haugen, a former Facebook employee who worked in the company’s unit that monitors election interference. before he resigned in May.

Zuckerberg said a change to Facebook’s News Feed algorithm was implemented in 2018 because it increased well-being. According to Haugen, Facebook’s internal investigation showed that the switch to News Feed, a roll of personalized content that is a central part of Facebook users’ interaction with the platform, had amplified the divisive content.

Zuckerberg said: “This change showed less viral videos and more content from friends and family, which we did knowing that it would mean that people would spend less time on Facebook, but that research suggested it was the right thing to do for people’s well-being. Is that something a profit-focused company would do over people? “

Addressing company staff in the Facebook post, made late Tuesday, Zuckerberg said he hoped many employees would not recognize the business described in the WSJ coverage and Haugen’s testimony.

“I’m sure many of you have found it difficult to read recent coverage because it simply does not reflect the company we know,” he wrote. “We are deeply concerned with issues such as safety, well-being and mental health. It’s hard to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false image of the company that is being painted. “

Zuckerberg opened the post with a reference to Monday platform outage when the company’s services, including the Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp platforms, were disconnected for almost six hours. Facebook has 3.5 billion monthly active users on its platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

“The deepest concern with an outage like this is not how many people switch to competitive services or how much money we lose, but what it means for people who depend on our services to communicate with their loved ones, run their businesses, or support their communities.” , said.

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