Facebook’s Whistleblower tells Congress how to control technology

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. lawmakers have been angry at Facebook for years. In early 2011, they expressed concern about Facebook’s failure to protect users’ privacy, the fight against misinformation on its platform, and its impact on the mental health of its users. But the crisis has not passed any laws.

Now, some chief legislators say they have the catalyst to bring about real change: Whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Hausen.

Hausen, the company’s product manager, once testified before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Protection and Data Security on Tuesday that lawmakers are describing an urgent call for control of Facebook. Whistleblower persuades Facebook’s media scrutiny when he shares thousands of internal documents with the Wall Street Journal, the SEC and Congress showing that Facebook may know about the damage to its products but ignores this fact to lawyers and the public. This evidence, which has so far been missing from the conversation, reveals how Facebook conducted research into how its products could cause mental health problems, allow violent content to develop and encourage polarizing reactions – and then largely ignore that research.

“I came forward because I recognized a frightening truth: almost no one outside of Facebook knows what happens inside Facebook,” Hagen said in his inaugural test on Tuesday.

In a statement in response to Tuesday’s hearing, Lena Pitts, Facebook’s director of policy communications, wrote that Hausen “worked for the company for less than two years, had no direct reports, did not attend decision-making meetings with C-level executives, and testified not to work on the question.” For more than six times. ”

“We do not agree with the characterization of many of the things he testified,” Piesh wrote. “After everything, we agree on; It is time to create standard rules for the Internet. It’s been 25 years since the rules of the Internet were updated, and it’s time for the industry to act in Congress rather than expect legislators to make social decisions.

In the past, congressional hearings about Facebook have often come down to political grandstandings, with lawmakers getting out of the matter and facing their own biased allegations with the company. Some Republicans have focused on unproven allegations that social media companies have anti-conservative biases. At other times, lawmakers have made mistakes that reflect their lack of basic technical knowledge যেমন such as the now-retired Sen.’s infamous question. During a Senate subcommittee hearing on Thursday, “phinasta”.

This time, however, lawmakers across the corridor focused specifically and studied the relevant এবং and real বিষয় issues thoroughly. They questioned Hagen about what harm Facebook can do to teenagers and children in particular, and how it can be addressed.

In exchange, House was an outspoken witness. He broke down complex issues like news feeds in an readily available manner according to Facebook’s algorithm. And he gave some clear explanations to both Congress and the public about what Facebook’s problems are and how these problems can be solved.

Facebook on the external monitor

Hausen repeatedly called on lawmakers to create an outside regulatory body that would have the ability to request data from Facebook, specifically about how its algorithms work and the kind of content they spread on the company’s social media platform.

“As long as Facebook is working in the dark, it’s not accountable to anyone,” Hausen said in his inaugural address. Hagen argued that “an important start for effective control is transparency: full access to data for research that is not indicated by Facebook.”

In his written testimony shared before the hearing, Hausen criticized Facebook’s existing semi-independent supervisory board (which has no real legal authority over Facebook) because he believes it is “blind” to Facebook’s internal workings.

“Right now, the only people in the world who are trained to analyze these experiences are those who have grown up inside Facebook or other social media companies.” “There needs to be a regulatory home where someone like me can take charge after working in this place,” he said.

Stanford law professor Nat Parsley, who has worked directly with Facebook on academic partnerships in the past and who has acknowledged the limitations of this partnership, recently called for it. Law Which will force platforms like Facebook to share internal information with external researchers.

Data transparency isn’t exactly the most eye-catching concept, nor is it an easy thing to control. But as Record has previously reported, many leading social media experts agree with Hagen that this is the first step in controlling Facebook in a meaningful way.

In his opening remarks, Frances Hausen said, “I believe that Facebook’s products harm children, create divisions and undermine our democracy.”
Through sobs batasaphorda Getty Images / AFP

Facebook ayalagaridamika open the black box

Facebook’s algorithms power up how its platforms work and what everyone shows in their news feed. Hausen said that these powerful processes should not work in a black box that only controls and understands Facebook, and that they must be checked and controlled.

The internal documentation released by Hausen shows how the 2018 2018 News Feed Rewards content has changed to provoke more emotion in people – especially anger, because it creates more engagement than any other emotion. Hausen and members of Congress also talked about how Facebook’s algorithms can push adolescents into toxic content, such as promoting eating disorders.

“I’ve spent most of my career in engagement-based rankings,” said Hagen, who has worked at Google and Pinterest in the past. “Facebook said,” We could do it safely, because we have AI. Artificial intelligence will find bad content that we know is promoting our engagement-based rankings. But he warned that “Facebook’s own research says they can’t adequately identify that dangerous content” and that those algorithms are creating “extreme feelings and divisions” among people.

Hausen insisted that this was the root cause of many of Facebook’s urgent problems and that it needed congressional oversight.

“I think so [Haugen] Let us stay behind Facebook, ”said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). “Now we can see how the company works and it is indifferent to the impact of algorithms on the youth of our country.”

Sen. Hagen’s testimony.
Drew Anger / Getty Images

Create federal privacy laws to protect Facebook users

Privacy was not one of Haugen’s key issues at the time of the testimony, but several lawmakers, including Sen. Amy Kloboucher (D-MN), Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Sen. Ed Marke (D-MA), needed improved privacy control.

Protecting human privacy on platforms like Facebook is one area where Congress has so far enacted some laws, including the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the KIDS Act, which requires technology companies to strictly restrict targeted advertising. Children under 16 and under the Secure Information Act, which would create user rights for data transparency and require opt-in consent for sensitive data processing. So it is understandable why this would be a key part of their potential plan to control Facebook.

“Passing a federal privacy standard has been working for a long time. I put my first one in 2012 and I think this Congress and this subcommittee will lead the way,” Blackburn said.

Hausen agrees that regulators should focus on how Facebook manages the privacy of its users where regulators should focus, but he added that he does not believe privacy control is the only solution to mitigate Facebook’s damage to society.

“Facebook wants to confuse you with thinking that privacy protection or just a change to Article 230 will suffice,” Hausen said. “Importantly, though, they’re not going to get to the root of the problem, which is that no one but Facebook can truly understand the destructive features of Facebook.” We can not carry anything less than complete transparency.

Section 230 reform – but the algorithm Focus

During the hearing, several senators brought in Article 230 – a groundbreaking Internet law that protects technology companies from suing their users for most of the illegal content posted on their platforms.

Section 230 would be highly controversial reform. Even some policy organizations, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Fight for the Future, which scrutinizes technology companies, have argued that removing the law could undermine the governance of tech giants because it makes it harder for smaller social media platforms with less content. Will take. Work without having to face costly lawsuits.

Some of the delicacy of the negotiations between the House realized 00. He suggested regulators amend Section 200 to make companies legally liable for promoting harmful content instead of posting to specific users.

“I encourage Section 230 decisions about algorithms to be reformed. Amend 230 around content এটি it becomes very complicated because user-generated content is something over which companies have less control,” Hagen said. ”

What next?

Leaders of the Senate subcommittee that brought Hausen to testify on Tuesday said they were going to keep Facebook in the spotlight and that they would hold more hearings (they would never say) about Facebook and other technology companies in the future.

“He really captures the consciousness of Congress today and has made a lasting and lasting difference in how we consider Big Tech,” Blumenthal said. “Without exaggeration, we are now entering a different era – I hope it will be different – to hold Big Tech accountable.”

But the Congress is still in the discussion stage. None of the bills that have been introduced over the years – such as a bill to prevent misinformation about health on social media or a proposed no-confidence law to bar big tech companies from selling their controlled product lines – are far from near. . And while this moment may seem different – and some senators, such as Ed Mark, are re-introducing bills in light of new scrutiny – there is a battle ahead for lawmakers if they are prepared to fight.

Army chief Richard Blumenthal, who co-chaired the subcommittee on Tuesday, declined to say whether he would call Mark Zuckerberg or when the next hearing would take place. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, who co-led Blumenthal, said change was coming “not later but sooner” and that Congress was “closer to a bilateral agreement.” But the reality is that while Congress is still discussing basic funding for the U.S. government, it will take time to try to effectively control Facebook as well as make some significant cross-party adjustments.

But in today’s hearing, Focus senators have shown that even this polarized congressional congressman is ready to be ite – at least in terms of Facebook control.

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