Former Employee Says Facebook Encourages Hate Online

A former Facebook employee denounced to British lawmakers on Monday that the social media giant fuels hatred and extremism online, fails to protect children from harmful content and lacks incentives to fix problems.

The assertions of Frances Haugen, who has publicly denounced the practices of the technology company in recent days, are giving more impetus to the efforts of European governments to draft a strict regulation of the technology giants.

While his testimony was similar to what he told the US Senate in early October, his appearance generated great interest in a British parliamentary committee that is drafting legislation to crack down on social platforms.

Haugen told British lawmakers that Facebook Groups amplify hate online, saying that algorithms that seek to hold users’ attention grab people with common interests and push them to extremes. The former Facebook data scientist said the company could add moderators to prevent groups of a certain size from being used to spread extremist views.

“Undeniably, (Facebook) is making the hate worse,” he said.

Haugen added that she was “surprised to hear recently that Facebook wants to duplicate the metaverse and that they are going to hire 10,000 engineers in Europe for it,” Haugen said, referring to the company’s plans for an immersive online world that is believed to be the next big internet trend.

Haugen cited internal investigative documents that he secretly copied before leaving his job at Facebook’s civic integrity unit.

The documents, which Haugen provided to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, allege that Facebook prioritized earnings over safety and withheld its own investigation from investors and the public.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg denies that the company puts profit over the well-being of its users or drives divisive content. But he agrees on the need to update internet regulations.

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