Frances Haugen, Fb Whistle-Blower, Testifies to Parliament


Ms. Haugen’s go to to Europe is a mirrored image of the area’s aggressive strategy to tech regulation and a perception that its policymakers are anticipated to behave quicker than the US to go new legal guidelines aiming at Fb and different tech giants. Within the coming weeks, Ms. Haugen has further conferences with officers in France, Germany and the European Union about new legal guidelines that she mentioned had been essential to pressure Fb to recalibrate the way it measures success extra towards the general public good.

“For all the issues Frances Haugen is making an attempt to unravel, Europe is the place to be,” mentioned Mathias Vermeulen, the general public coverage director at AWO, a regulation agency and coverage agency that’s among the many teams working with Ms. Haugen in the US and Europe.

In London, Ms. Haugen instructed policymakers that regulation may offset Fb’s company tradition that rewards concepts that get individuals to spend extra time scrolling their social media feeds, however views questions of safety as a much less vital “value heart.”

Fb’s affect is especially robust in areas of Africa, Asia and the Center East the place its companies are broadly in style. However the firm doesn’t have language or cultural experience there, Ms. Haugen mentioned. With out authorities intervention, she instructed lawmakers, occasions in international locations comparable to Ethiopia and Myanmar, the place Fb has been accused of contributing to ethnic violence, are the “opening chapters of a novel that’s going to be horrific to learn.”

She instructed insurance policies that will require Fb to carry out annual threat assessments to determine areas the place its merchandise had been inflicting hurt — comparable to coronavirus misinformation or youngsters’ psychological well being. She mentioned Fb may very well be required to stipulate particular options and share the findings with outdoors researchers and auditors to make sure they’re ample.

With out government-mandated transparency, Fb can current a false image of its efforts to deal with hate speech and different excessive content material, she mentioned. The corporate says synthetic intelligence software program catches greater than 90 p.c of hate speech, however Ms. Haugen mentioned the quantity was lower than 5 p.c.

“They’re excellent at dancing with information,” she mentioned.

British policymakers are drafting a regulation to create a brand new web regulator that would impose billions of {dollars}’ value of fines if extra isn’t completed to cease the unfold of hate speech, misinformation, racist abuse and dangerous content material concentrating on youngsters.

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