Former Facebook official Frances Haugen said – during a hearing before the US Senate Committee on Consumer Protection and Data Security – that Facebook is focused on making profits, which sometimes led to harm to people, and that the company hides things that may lead to harm, and operates in the shadows.
She added that Facebook’s products harm democracy and children, and stressed that the company knows that there are accounts for children under the age of 13 on its site, and that it reaps huge profits from advertisements in which children are used.
Members of the Committee on Consumer Protection and Data Security called Facebook’s plans to target children and youth “frightening” and noted bipartisan concerns about Facebook’s influence.
Haugen had said that internal research conducted by Facebook showed that dealing with Instagram content caused depression in teenage girls, considering that the platform’s content harms teenagers.
Also in Washington, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressed the administration’s concern about the growing power of social media and its self-management system.
Psaki added that the information revealed by former Facebook official Francis Haugen showed the ineffectiveness of self-regulation adopted by social media platforms.
Saki pointed out that the efforts made by these companies to attract users, and their negative impact on the mental health of adolescents, is certainly troubling.
For years, US lawmakers have threatened to institute regulatory frameworks for Facebook and other social networks to counter criticism that tech giants are ignoring privacy issues, providing ideal platforms for spreading misinformation and harming the well-being of young people.
In Russia, officials said that the disruption of Facebook on Monday highlights Russia’s right to develop its platforms and sovereign social networks on the Internet, while the European Union stressed that this outage shows the need for more competing companies.
Russian social networks reported an increase in their activity during the worldwide outage of Facebook on Monday.
Meanwhile, European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday that Facebook’s 6-hour outage yesterday shows the consequences of relying on a small number of large companies, and underscores the need for more competition.
Vestager wrote on Twitter that the incident showed the need for more competition.
Vestager last year proposed draft rules known as the Digital Markets Act, which set out a list of do’s and don’ts for Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google to force them to change their core business model to allow more competition.