The Facebook ‘mole’ revealed his identity to CNN, reiterating the accusation that Facebook is aware that its platforms spread hatred, violence and disinformation, but has always tried to hide it for reasons of interest. “What I have seen at Facebook is that there is a conflict of interest between what is good for the public and what is good for Facebook. And Facebook has always chosen to optimize its interests, how to make more money,” said Frances Haugen. He was interviewed on the show “60 minutes” after sharing tens of thousands of pages of internal documents of the social media with the Wall Street Journal and presented eight exposed to the Securities and Exchange, the body that regulates the stock market American. Tomorrow he will testify before a Senate committee.
Haugen, 37, joined Facebook in 2019 to tackle disinformation as a product manager on a team committed to civic integrity. But the team was disbanded after the US elections. And Haugen, increasingly disappointed, began to collect documents.
According to the manager, the social network founder, Mark Zuckerberg, “never wanted to create a hate platform, but allowed choices whose side effects are that the hateful and divisive content is more distributed and reaches more people”.
One of the consequences of these choices is that “content that produces reactions is optimized”, but FB’s internal research shows that “content full of hate, divisive, polarizing, more easily inspires anger in people”. The company, Haugen argues, acknowledges that “if the algorithm changes to be more secure, people will spend less time on the sites, click on fewer ads, and they will make less money.” “Facebook – he explains – makes more money if one consumes more content. People love dealing with things that produce emotional reactions. And the more they are exposed to anger, the more they interact and the more they consume”
After the broadcast, Facebook denied the allegations. “We continue to have significant improvements in tackling the spread of misinformation and harmful content. To suggest that we encourage bad content by doing nothing is simply not true,” spokeswoman Lena Pietsch said.