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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will testify Tuesday on Capitol Hill about her public allegations that the social media giant and former employer put profits over the public good, despite leadership’s assurance the company was working to make the platform safer.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will testify Tuesday on Capitol Hill about her public allegations that the social media giant and former employer put profits over the public good, despite leadership’s assurance the company was working to make the platform safer.

Haugen will testify before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, several days after The Wall Street Journal published a series of reports from documents supplied by Haugen that revealed Facebook’s inner workings and two days after she appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” to discuss her concerns.

“There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,” she said during the interview. “And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money.”

The documents appear to show Facebook knew, based on internal research, that some of its products were harmful to the mental health of some users, particularly teen girls.

“Facebook’s own research says, as these young women begin to consume this eating disorder content, they get more and more depressed,” Haugen said. “And it actually makes them use [Instagram] more.”

She also said Facebook placed profit above the well being of those harmed.

“Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, they’ll click on less ads, they’ll make less money,” Haugen said.

Haugen, a data scientist with a computer engineering degree and a Harvard MBA, acknowledged Facebook took steps to combat misinformation during the 2020 election but said many of those policies were only temporary.

She secretly copied and took tens of thousands of pages of internal research documents before leaving her job in Facebook’s civic integrity unit. Haugen also has filed complaints with federal authorities regarding her allegations about Facebook’s research showing that it amplifies hate, misinformation and political unrest, but the company hides what it knows, the Associated Press reports.

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Trump files second lawsuit against Facebook in effort to reinstate his account immediately

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Former President Trump has filed another lawsuit against Facebook, requesting that a federal judge order the Big Tech platform to reinstate his account.

Trump was suspended from most significant social media platforms in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Later in the year, he filed class-action lawsuits against Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and their respective CEOs. 

The secondary filing, dated Oct. 7 in the U.S. District Court for the Souther District of Florida, seeks a preliminary injunction on Facebook’s ban as his earlier suit makes its way through the court. 

The filing reads: “The First Amendment rights of [Trump’s] millions of Facebook Users – to receive his messages and to comment to one another thereon – will be irreparably injured as well. At the same time, by de-platforming the presumptive head and most popular member of the Republican Party, cutting him off from the most effective and direct forms of communication with potential voters, Defendant is threatening irreparable damage to the Republican Party’s prospects in the 2022 and 2024 elections.”

John Coale, the lead counsel for the Trump lawsuits said that the timing of the preliminary injunction filing “seems appropriate … since they’ve been big in the news lately for all the issues they’re facing,” referring to Facebook’s shocking outage earlier this week as well as the explosive whistleblower testimony that captivated the attention of Capitol Hill.

Trump is looking to get reinstated on several platforms, among other reasons, to be able to reach his devoted audience before the 2022 election cycle gets into full swing. Being able to easily and quickly communicate his views, endorsements, and political thoughts was a key way that the former President communicated with his supporters leading up to his election and throughout his tenure in office.

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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen tells Senate the company ‘has not earned our blind trust’

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The Facebook whistleblower who recently released many thousands of pages of internal research and documents to the Wall Street Journal and Securities and Exchange Commission testified Tuesday morning before the Senate Commerce sub-committee on consumer protection, product safety and data security.

Frances Haugen, who identified herself as the whistleblower on Sunday evening, spent the morning warning lawmakers that Facebook operates without oversight, telling them that even lawmakers do not have the information they would require to effectively regulate the tech giant.

Haugen, who said she is testifying today “at great personal risk,” told the panel:

“I am here today because I believe that 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.”

By way of legislative assignment, Haugen told the panel that she would “strongly encourage” Congress to reform Section 230, specifically altering the liability standard of Big Tech platforms as it pertains to their algorithms, not exclusively their content. She added the idea of creating a federal oversight body to keep tabs on industry practices.

Haugen’s most recent role at the company was on the Facebook counter-espionage team. She testified to the panel that, in many key departments, Facebook is chronically short-staffed which left her concerned that critical teams do not have to man-power to confront significant issues, including those pertaining to national security.

“My team directly worked on tracking Chinese participation on the platform, surveilling, say, Uyghur populations, in places around the world. You could actually find the Chinese based on them doing these kinds of things. We also saw active participation of, say, the Iran government doing espionage on other state actors,” she said.

Haugen delivered a number of bombshell pieces of information to the committee – many of which have been detailed in the Wall Street Journal’s ongoing series “The Facebook Files” – including the precise ill effects that some of the company’s products have on consumers. 

In particular, today’s hearing focused on the well-being of children on the platform. When asked if Facebook (and subsidiary company Instagram) utilized its algorithm to push content that would promote eating disorders to young girls, Haugen replied:

“Facebook knows engagement-based ranking, the way they pick the content in Instagram for young users, for all users, amplifies preferences … They’ve done something called a proactive incident response where they take things that they heard, for example, ‘can you be led by the algorithms to anorexia content?’ and they have literally recreated this experiment and confirmed yes, this happens to people.”

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Rumors Flying Around Social Media About What Really Happened to Facebook Are Alarming

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As you likely know by now, Facebook and Instagram are down.

But more than just “down,” they’re out of play, and some are saying they’re down for the count.

Of course, when things like this happen and we don’t have a lot of information, the rumor mill really starts churning.

But with that said, it’s also interesting to see different experts’ spin on what’s happening, and in terms of Facebook, some of the assessments are rather alarming.

Now, I am no techy, but the fact that Facebook has been down this long – basically the entire day thus far, is an obvious cause for concern.

Here’s what some folks are talking about online right now:

According to a couple of verified accounts on Twitter, Facebook is in some big trouble.

“so, we just got this in. sources suggesting Facebook is deleted forever. shocking if true”

SO, WE JUST GOT THIS IN. SOURCES SUGGESTING FACEBOOK IS DELETED FOREVER. SHOCKING IF TRUEHTTPS://T.CO/4PQF76DKNW PIC.TWITTER.COM/L7HBY7NTWA

— JASON KOEBLER (@JASON_KOEBLER) OCTOBER 4, 2021

“So, someone deleted large sections of the routing….that doesn’t mean Facebook is just down, from the looks of it….that means Facebook is GONE.”

SO, SOMEONE DELETED LARGE SECTIONS OF THE ROUTING….THAT DOESN’T MEAN FACEBOOK IS JUST DOWN, FROM THE LOOKS OF IT….THAT MEANS FACEBOOK IS GONE. PIC.TWITTER.COM/OCZWPD2OKW

— THE ACADEMY (@BENJAMINENFIELD) OCTOBER 4, 2021

These are frighting prospects, for sure.

And check this one out from New York Times:

“JUST IN – Facebook employees reportedly can’t enter buildings to evaluate the Internet outage because their door access badges weren’t working (NYT)”

JUST IN – FACEBOOK EMPLOYEES REPORTEDLY CAN’T ENTER BUILDINGS TO EVALUATE THE INTERNET OUTAGE BECAUSE THEIR DOOR ACCESS BADGES WEREN’T WORKING (NYT)

— DISCLOSE.TV (@DISCLOSETV) OCTOBER 4, 2021

However, Facebook has a team of people who are working on it, so my guess is no matter what actually did happen, they will get it back up and running soon.

There are millions and millions of people all over the world who use Facebook for work – and without it, they’re dead in the water.

And now, this terrible incident that has impacted a lot of people’s livelihoods has sparked talk about how it’s time to break these tech giants up.

“It may be obvious when stated but it’s not obvious when unstated. Today ended the antitrust debate. No one company can have this much control over infrastructure.”

IT MAY BE OBVIOUS WHEN STATED BUT IT’S NOT OBVIOUS WHEN UNSTATED.

TODAY ENDED THE ANTITRUST DEBATE.

The scary part is, I don’t think I want the government stepping in and doing anything with “big tech” while Joe Biden is in office, do you?

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