Ah, Facebook! Every time you log in, another person’s had a baby, you realise you forgot your uncle’s birthday, again, and your random cousin is still sharing inappropriate memes.😏 It’s a weird, wonderful space, buuuut… it’s also deeply problematic. We told you last month how former Facebook employee turned whistleblower Frances Haugen outed the social media giant for, among other things, prioritising profits over people’s safety. This week, Haugen released more documents to the US Securities and Exchange Commission and THEY ARE DAMNING. 🤯 Here are some of the findings:
- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally agreed to demands by Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party to censor anti-government dissidents if it wanted to avoid being knocked offline in the Asian market. Additionally, Facebook ignored internal complaints about political posts packed with misinformation and conspiracy theories from before and after the US’s 2016 election.
- Facebook’s regulation in Middle Eastern and African nations is very thin. It did very little to quell the spread of hateful and violence-inciting content amid Ethiopia’s civil war. Haugen said “the raw version [of Facebook] roaming wild in most of the world doesn’t have any of the things [related to online safety and curation] that make it kind of palatable in the United States”.
- People living in the Middle East used Facebook to buy and sell maids who were then abused, a human trafficking violation flagged by employees that Facebook didn’t do much to correct.😶It also allowed anti-Muslim and hateful content to spread and even failed to monitor Iraqi militias who shared images of child nudity on the platform.
During an internal question-and-answer session at the company, Zuckerburg denied these allegations and said the company was working on improving the product. Facebook was also reportedly set to announce a new name today (it hadn’t done so at the time of writing), in hopes that the rebranding will improve its image. But as experts say: “Simply unveiling a new brand will only serve to reinforce consumers’ fears that Facebook is only concerned about itself.”