The most important finding from the US Senate hearing with Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen on Tuesday is that Facebook puts revenue above the well-being of its users.
Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg has reacted to the hearing and claims everything said by Frances is absolutely and completely wrong.
Zuckerberg in a lengthy post published on Tuesday night said he believed the hearing and media coverage “misrepresented” Facebook’s work and motives.
“At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritize profit over safety and well-being. That’s just not true,” he wrote.
He refuted some of Haugen’s points made during the hearing asking that how could Facebook do bad things when it has programmes in place that are supposedly designed to protect the wellbeing of Facebook’s users?
“For example, one move that has been called into question is when we introduced the Meaningful Social Interactions change to News Feed. This change showed fewer viral videos and more content from friends and family — which we did know would mean people spent less time on Facebook, but that research suggested it was the right thing for people’s well-being. Is that something a company focused on profits over people would do?” Zuckerberg wrote.
The problem with this argument is that it is totally possible to have a large number of well-meaning, good-sounding programs and then abuse them or ignore some of their results, which Haugen claimed in her testimony.
According to The Wall Street Journal’s recent investigation, the Meaningful Social Interactions (MSI) change that Zuckerberg has mentioned, is a tool that measures how Facebook users interact with content.
Contrary to what Zuckerberg claims, Haugen said that Facebook’s reliance on MSI actually led to further polarization and dissemination of misinformation on the platform.
Also the WSJ, Facebook’s internal research provided no evidence that the MSI change to the News Feed increased the wellbeing of Facebook’s users.
Zuckerberg also said that the statement that Facebook is intentionally pushing more content that makes people angry is “deeply illogical.”
“We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don’t know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed,” he wrote.