Francis Hagen, a former Facebook employee and whistleblower, will urge the US Congress on Tuesday to regulate the social media company, which he plans to compare to tobacco companies.
“The government took action when we realized that the tobacco companies were hiding the damage it had caused. When we found that cars with seat belts were safe, the government took action,” Hankin’s written testimony was presented to the Senate Business Subcommittee. “I beg you to do the same here.”
Hogan will tell the team that Facebook executives have consistently chosen profit rather than user security.
“The company leadership knows the ways to make Facebook and Instagram safer and will not make the necessary changes because they have put enormous profits in front of the people. Congress action is needed,” he would say. “As long as Facebook operates in the dark, it is not responsible to anyone. And it will continue to make choices against the public interest.”
Senator Amy Globuschar, who is on the subcommittee, said she was asking Hu about the January 6 attack on US capital by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.
“I would also like to ask her if she thought Facebook was good enough to warn law enforcement and the public on January 6 and whether Facebook had removed election misinformation protections due to financial loss to the company,” Globuschar commented in an email.
The senator said he would like to discuss Facebook’s methods and whether they “promote harmful and divisive content.”
Hogan, who worked as a production manager at Facebook’s civil misinformation group, was the whistleblower who provided documents used in the Wall Street Journal investigation and the Senate inquiry into Instagram’s harm to teenage girls.
Facebook holds Instagram and WhatsApp.
The company did not respond to a request for comment.
“Facebook’s closed design has no oversight – that is, even from its own oversight board, which is as blind as the general public,” Hogan added.
This makes it possible for regulators to serve as a check, he added.
“This inability to see Facebook’s real systems and ensuring that Facebook’s systems work as they say is like the Department of Transportation looking at regulating cars driving on the highway,” his witness says. “Imagine that no controller could ride in a car, pump its wheels, crash into a car, or even know that there might be seat belts.”
Journal stories based on Facebook internal presentations and emails showed that the company contributed to greater polarization online as it made changes to its content algorithm; Could not take action to reduce vaccine reluctance; And Instagram knew that teens could be detrimental to their mental health.
Hogan said Facebook has done very little to prevent its site from being used by people who are planning violence.
“As a result, sectarianism, extremism and polarization – and an organization that undermines communities around the world. In some cases, this dangerous online talk has led to real violence that could harm and kill people.”
Facebook was used by people planning mass killings in Myanmar and by the January 6 attack by Trump supporters.
© Thomson Reuters 2021