Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen brings light to the importance of regulating social media


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Kaylee Flores, Reporter

Facebook has recently come under fire for their flawed algorithm and their lack of effort to delete misinformation regarding vaccines and politics which has been evident since the beginning of COVID-19. Many Facebook posts have spread false information about vaccines, the election and many more important events which have become harmful to those who are consuming these types of media.

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen worked at Facebook for two years and recently left Facebook in May. Now Haugen has come out with evidence from the company that Facebook’s algorithm had contributed to the riot in the U.S. Capitol which took place on Jan. 6.

No multimillion dollar companies should hold such power, especially with the power that social media has on the public. The misinformation spread through Facebook is correlated to the insurrection of a riot on a government building and the company should be held accountable.  

According to “AP News,” Facebook had “turned off safeguards designed to thwart misinformation and rabble rousing after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump last year” which may have contributed to the riot at the Capitol.

Facebook turning off the content warnings that tell any social media user what information is false regarding the election is harmful, leading to the spread of misinformation that caused people to have the ideology that Joe Biden didn’t really win the election, thus starting the U.S. Capitol riots in order to “stop the steal” and resulting in property damage and injuries to many people.

According to the “New York Times,” “the company said in February that it planned to remove posts that contained inaccurate statements about vaccines from its platform and has since last year been vocal about removing coronavirus misinformation.

Haugen said Facebook would only remove about “10 to 20 percent of content” on their platform. While Facebook is removing content, this low percentage isn’t doing much to stop the spread of misleading information regarding COVID-19, vaccines and the election.

Facebook removing the false information content directly after the results of the election put the public at risk by furthering division between groups of people.

In August, Facebook decided to give some transparency to the public and shared their data on the most viewed Facebook posts in the United States.

However, according to a CNN analysis, Facebook didn’t reveal data throughout the whole year. Facebook had only shared data from May of this year to the present which displays their most viewed posts as those “focused on sharing content about pets, cooking, family.”

The analysis also uses information reported from “The New York Times,” stating the data collected for the most-viewed posts on Facebook for the first three months of 2021 showed that it was a link to a news article claiming a doctor died after receiving the coronavirus vaccine.

This evidence Haugen provided to the court shows the dishonesty Facebook has when handling situations like these and paints a picture of how the company cares for money more than the safety of the public.

During her testimony, Haugen stated that Facebook should become more transparent by giving more documents and research from the company, so Congress can be able to regulate social media platforms.

The only way Facebook can stop contributing to the division of people through politics and medical beliefs is to work with Congress by providing more data to show that they aren’t further worsening the spread of false information regarding vaccines.