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Key takeaways from Facebook whistleblower testimony

A reminder of why big data remains a big deal today Frances Haugen a former facebook product manager testified before U.S lawmakers as a whistleblower. She was armed with company documents to back her claim that Facebook and Instagram can be addictive and harmful to children part of her message. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has always been aware of the dangers choosing to put astronomical profits over the welfare of people. Now to understand this Haugen described a business model designed to ensure that content gets our attention and keeps us coming back the more engagement. The more advertising revenue profits are pushed ever higher bonuses for Facebook executives get bigger and bigger.

 

Now this is part of Haugen’s opening statement delivered, “I joined facebook because i think Facebook has the potential to bring out the best in us. But i’m here today because i believe Facebook’s products harm children stoke division and weaken our democracy. The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer. But won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people congressional action is needed. They won’t solve this crisis without your help Yesterday. We saw Facebook get taken off. The internet i don’t know why i went down but i know that for more than five hours faceybook wasn’t used to deepen divides destabilize democracies and make young girls and women feel bad about their bodies. It also means that millions of small businesses weren’t able to reach potential customers and countless photos of new babies weren’t joyously celebrated by family and friends around the world. I believe in the potential of Facebook. We can have social media we enjoy that connects us without tearing our democr apart our democracy putting our children in danger and sowing ethnic violence around the world. We can do better.”

 

There was a lot of discussion about social media’s algorithms and how artificial intelligence is used to calibrate the content. that gets humans hooked not surprisingly We heard that hate speech and images of violence guarantee the most clicks and the most traffic. Our ugliest tendencies drive the data for adults and for kids. A lot of parents have their retirement funds partially invested in Facebook shares.

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