Provoking wars and ethnic cleansing, indulging the slave trade and drug trafficking – this is an incomplete list of accusations against Facebook, put forward by a former employee of this social network. She has collected documents confirming the manipulation and speaks to the Senate. And this is far from the only major nuisance for the IT giant. The six-hour blackout revealed the fragility of the online universe. Serious investigation lies ahead.
In the United States, a “crusade against Zucker-berg”, as the Americans put it, began. Frances Haugen initially remained incognito, but now she is openly participating in Senate hearings.
“I believed that Facebook makes life better. And then I realized that the social network corrupts society, hurts children,” she explained.
Haugen developed algorithms to block disinformation. It was not possible to find an effective solution. In her opinion – because of the disinterest of the company’s management.
“The social network ignores the threat of espionage, issues of national security are not a priority,” the ex-employee of Facebook says indignantly.
Frances persistently explained the problems to top managers, but she was ignored. Then she began to collect internal documents in order to make them public. In the end, she quit her job and turned to journalists. Seventeen publications have published materials on how the social network profits from users.
The “Facebook dossier” caused a scandal. Republic-ans have accused Democ-rats of thwarting Donald Trump in his fight against the monopoly of the IT giants.
Mark Zuckerberg considers all this to be slander. He drew attention to the fact that the leak of internal documents coincided with the largest disruption in the work of the social network, as well as in Instagram and WhatsApp. The virtual blackout and the escalating scandal could be links in the same chain, the founder of Facebook suggested.
Later they found out that the failure was due to problems in the servers. I had to admit: Haugen was right in many ways. There are problems, but the social network ignores them.
Facebook is now focused on rebranding. Recently the company changed its name to Meta. “Our social network is a metaverse where people work, play and communicate,” explained the head of the social network.
The brand change sparked a new wave of criticism. The company was suspected of trying to hush up the problems. I had to prove that the rebranding was planned long before Haugen’s confessions. But the problems were not over.
Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan were accused of harassment and violation of labor rights. Two security officers went to court with a complaint about incorrect jokes over them and non-payment of overtime.
Algorithms or people
Hate speech is a key complaint about Facebook. In words, the company is doing everything possible so that there are no calls to violence and conflicts on the social network. But, as it turned out, the algorithms are configured in such a way that such posts first pop up among users.
“Regular likes do not matter. Messages that cause irritation or outrage are promoted,” the investigation notes.
There are especially many such publications in countries with armed conflicts. So, in Myanmar in the spring of 2018, ethnic cleansing was staged against the Rohingya people. Calls to kill were disseminated through Face-book. And the “Arab Sp-ring” did not happen without the help of social networks, but Zuckerberg did not draw any conclusions.
Its representatives justify that in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, there are not enough moderators who speak local languages. And algorithms are not able to identify all the dangerous content.
Under pressure from public opinion, the algorithms targeted any suspicious phrases. Another problem arose – blocking, as they say, out of the blue. The Arabs have practically lost the opportunity to discuss politics, even in private correspondence.
Haugen noted that among the users of the social network, Americans are only ten percent, but al-most all resources are aimed at moderating English-language content. When it comes to America and Europe, money is spared. “In other countries, Facebook is making less money and there is no incentive to hire staff,” she explained.
Marketing over security
Another problem is that moderators do not remove human trafficking ads. They pay attention to this only after the intervention of law enforcement agencies or special services.
Facebook has a secret list of those who are all-owed to do anything. These are show business stars, fa-mous athletes, actors, po-liticians. Blocking their p-ages is not profitable – there are many advertisers there. For example, footballer Neymar posted photos of naked girls. They complained to the moderators, but no reaction followed.
And of course, fakes. Funds for tracking them are allocated extremely sparingly. As a result, there is questionable information about vaccinations against coronavirus on the social network at every turn. About 40 percent of posts on this topic belong to anti-axers.
We also recalled the abundance of fakes during the 2016 US presidential campaign. The American establishment believes that this helped Donald Trump win the election. And in 2018, Facebook leaked the data of 50 million users to the Cambridge Analytica consulting company. Then it was used in marketing and contextual advertising.
The social network shamelessly manipulates young people. Teenagers are forced to advertise and videos that negatively affect the psyche, says Haugen. She admitted that, above all, it was this that made her disclose the company’s internal documents.
The ex-employee claims that the management knew about all this and even conducted some research. But in vain.
Rules of the game
“The problems raised in the Facebook Dossier are also relevant in relation to Russia. violates community rules. The post was removed only thanks to Roskomnadzor. Most likely, the content was checked not by experts, but by algorithms developed for the Russian-speaking audience.”
Following user complaints, Facebook has created an Oversight Board that monitors content and removes fakes. “The social network claims that this is an independent body and the company does not influence its decisions. But how it works is not clear. All cases are sent there by the management, so it is difficult to talk about independence,” the source said.
Media communications expert Vsevolod Pulia does not consider the Facebook Dossier to be some kind of revelation. The scandal simply added arguments to those who already criticized the opaque mechanisms of moderation and the negative impact of social networks on young people.
“There will be no special consequences. At most, there will be cosmetic changes, but the business model will remain. This year the whole world saw the real power of social networks, which, with the click of a button, removed Trump from everywhere. After that, they launched the process of forming national legislation regulating social networks. Work continues. “, Says Bullet.
Pavel Koshkin, a senior researcher at the Institute of the USA and Canada, believes that bans cannot solve the problem. The six-hour Facebook shutdown showed that this is a blow not only to the company’s business. Politicians, small businesses and influencers have all suffered from the virtual blackout.
“Trump was criticized for trying to call social networks to responsible behavior. The ex-president opposed the monopoly of IT giants, but this was perceived as extravagance and revenge. Now Europe, Russia, Asia are trying to legislatively define the rules of the game for such companies. and other countries, including America, will soon follow this path, “Koshkin is sure.
Experts agree that states and IT giants will have to find a common language and establish an order acceptable to all. It is no longer possible to ignore the accumulated problems.