On Tuesday, lawmakers lambasted Facebook, charging CEO Mark Zuckerberg with aiming for higher earnings while being nonchalant about users’ safety and well-being.
The lawmakers likewise asked the regulators to investigate accusations the whistleblower made against the social media giant.
This particularly involves the accusations on how the platform harms the mental health of children.
Whistleblower accused Facebook of hiding confidential information
A former employee of Facebook, Frances Haugen, made a damning statement against Facebook before the Senate on Tuesday. She accused the company of “hiding” the research it conducts from the public to avoid scrutiny.
She likewise narrated how Facebook operates “in the shadows.” Haugen added she left the company with tons of confidential information.
The whistleblower then asked Facebook for transparency, particularly on how they “entice” the platform users to keep scrolling, producing more chances for advertisers to get to them.
BREAKING: Facebook "intentionally hides vital information from the public, from the US government… The documents I have provided to Congress prove that Facebook repeatedly misled the public about what's its own research reveals," whistleblower Frances Haugen told Congress. pic.twitter.com/zBUgPXGcN8
— Newsmax (@newsmax) October 5, 2021
Then, hours later, Zuckerberg wrote a statement through a public post on Facebook. He defended the company, stating the accusations made by Haugen were “at odds” with the goals of Facebook.
Zuckerberg: The accusations were “deeply illogical”
In the public post, Zuckerberg wrote the arguments made by Haugen (accusing Facebook of intentionally pushing content that triggers people’s emotions for gain) are “deeply illogical.”
Zuckerberg explained the company makes a profit from ads; advertisers tell them they do not want their content to appear alongside angry or harmful content.
He also added he does not know any tech company that releases products meant to make people depressed or angry.
#UPDATES "The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical," Zuckerberg writes in a note to Facebook employees also posted on his account pic.twitter.com/jdbz7VBmuk
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) October 6, 2021
On the other hand, the whistleblower claimed as long as the social media giant operates in the shadows, it remains unaccountable.
She then accused the company of putting profits before the overall well-being of their users, calling on Congress to take action.
Haugen likewise claimed she’s the source of documents used in an investigation by the Wall Street Journal and the Senate hearing about the harm created from Instagram to teenage girls.
She compared the use of social media platforms to addictive substances, such as opioids and tobacco. Meanwhile, in a rare sight, the bipartisan Congress joined forces in lambasting the social media giant.
Republican Senator Dan Sullivan voiced his concerns on how Facebook and its subsidiaries take a toll on the mental health of children. He claimed 20 years from now, we will look back and ask ourselves what we were thinking at this time and why we didn’t take action.
Democrat Senator Richard Blumenthal also stated that Facebook knew their products are addictive, noting the company is now facing the moment of truth.
Blumenthal then called for the Facebook CEO to testify before the Senate; he called for the Federal Trade Commission and Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct an investigation against Facebook.
He noted the children of today are the victims of the company, adding that teenagers nowadays look at the mirror and feel insecure. The Democrat senator added that it’s time for Zuckerberg to look at himself in the mirror.