Facebook is in a hot water since the beginning of this week. The company’s whistleblower France Haugen revealed some internal documents that attacked it for wrongdoing. Amidst all this, Facebook witnessed its worst outage of six hours since 2008, which slumped its stock price by nearly 5%. However, apart from the outage part, Mark Zuckerberg didn’t address anything about the whistleblower’s actions until yesterday.
On Tuesday, Zuckerberg finally talked about former employee’s claims about the company’s impact on society. He said that her comments don’t make any sense.” On the same day, Haugen testified before the Senate Commerce subcommittee about the company’s interests. She didn’t leave any opportunity to deface Facebook’s reputation by attacking its business model and algorithm. The testifying committee called Zuckerberg to address revelations on child safety, but he didn’t return to Congress.
“Rather than taking responsibility and showing leadership, Mr. Zuckerberg is going sailing,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said. This statement was made in the wake of a video posted during CBS Show “60 Minutes” on Sunday, which showed him sailing around. The Times reported that CEO was seen riding an electric surfboard. However, Zuckerberg made a comment about this whole sailing in his Facebook post.
“Look, it’s one thing for the media to say false things about my work, but it’s crossing the line to say I’m riding an electric surfboard when that video clearly shows a hydrofoil that I’m pumping with my own legs,” he said.
Tuesday’s hearing was focused on calling on Facebook to share more research with independent analysts. “The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” Zuckerberg said in a memo, which later posted on Facebook.
Whistleblower Frances Haugen told the committee that Facebook is “repeatedly” misleading people about child’s safety and spreading harmful content. Moreover, she asked Congress to take regulatory actions against the company. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg said in the post that “if we didn’t care about fighting harmful content, then why would we employ so many more people dedicated to this than any other company in our space — even ones larger than us? If we wanted to hide our results, why would we have established an industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting on what we’re doing?”
Haugen blamed Facebook for understaffing employees for critical projects and taking decisions based on metrics. In addition to this, she said that the reformation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act., can encourage Facebook to change its algorithms and cause less harm to users. Meanwhile, Andy Stone, Facebook’s Policy Communications Director, said in a tweet that “Just pointing out the fact that @FrancesHaugen did not work on child safety or Instagram or research these issues and has no direct knowledge of the topic from her work at Facebook.”
On the other hand, Facebook’s CEO said “I have testified in Congress multiple times and asked them to update these regulations. I’ve written op-eds outlining the areas of regulation we think are most important related to elections, harmful content, privacy, and competition.”
A Message to CEO
Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) made a statement, which was curated for Zuckerberg. He said, “Your time of invading our privacy, promoting toxic content, and preying on children and teens is over. Congress will be taking action. You can work with us or not work with us, but we will not allow your company to harm our children and our families and our democracies any longer. Thank you, Ms. Haugen. We will act.”
Zuckerberg is Proud About the Company
“When I reflect on our work, I think about the real impact we have on the world — the people who can now stay in touch with their loved ones, create opportunities to support themselves, and find community. This is why billions of people love our products. I’m proud of everything we do to keep building the best social products in the world and grateful to all of you for the work you do here every day,” he said in a Facebook post.