The criticism of the social media giant “Facebook” has risen especially after the appearance of the former employee of Facebook, Frances Haugen, and her testimony before Congress recently.
In recent years, the American company used to be the focus of bad news, and scandals and accusations followed it, starting with the suspicion of its exploitation in rigging the 2016 US presidential elections and undermining democracy, to accusing it of violating privacy, accusations of spreading hatred and exposing teenagers to many dangers due to the use of its products.
But what is remarkable, after the recent leaks case and the hearing, is that the United States, through its media, has begun to prepare for the overthrow of Zuckerberg’s media empire.
This fact is confirmed by a group of headlines published in major American newspapers last week, and this proves beyond any doubt that the American media put Facebook and its activities under the microscope of the fourth authority.
Here are some of these headlines and an analysis of what they addressed about the American company:
Inside the Big Facebook Leaks Scandal
This report, written by Ben Smith for The New York Times, talks about the new nature of the issues of major leaks, and how the media’s role and its treatment of leakers has changed.
Ms. Haugen left Facebook with scores of internal research papers, slide decks, discussion threads, presentations and memos that she has shared with lawmakers, regulators and journalists. The information provides an unvarnished view of how some within the company tried to raise alarms about its harmful effects, but often struggled to get Facebook leaders to act.
After leaking internal company documents to The Wall Street Journal that resulted in a series of articles that began in September, Ms. Haugen revealed her identify this month for an episode of “60 Minutes” and testified before a Senate committee. She also shared the documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The main information revealed by the leaks included how Facebook executives dealt with the politicization of lies, to serve the interests of some diplomats, in many cases, the company chose to allow disinformation to spread widely, to keep more people on its platform.
This report revealed the technology used by Haugen to transmit information to a number of media outlets by a group of journalists that were associated with them through the Slack application, and they coordinated the campaign to show the information to the public, which finally led to Francis Hogan sitting in the testimony chair before Congress in order to present What it has information about suspicious Facebook technologies.
The pretext of “freedom of expression”
A report shared by several writers in the Washington Post said that the social media giant has shown on several occasions to favor growth and followership over information integrity, validation, and its impact on societies.
For example, Zuckerberg testified last year before Congress that the company removes 94 percent of the hate speech it finds before a human reports it — but internal documents show that its researchers estimated that the company was removing less than 5 percent of hate speech on Facebook. In March, Zuckerberg told Congress that it was “not at all clear” that social networks polarize people, when Facebook’s own researchers had repeatedly found that they do.
The documents — disclosures made to the SEC and provided to Congress in redacted form by Haugen’s legal counsel — were obtained and reviewed by a consortium of news organizations, including The Washington Post.
In her congressional testimony, Haugen repeatedly accused Zuckerberg of choosing growth over the public good, an allegation echoed in interviews with the former employees.
Facebook has previously fought efforts to hold Zuckerberg personally accountable. In 2019, as the company was facing a record-breaking $5 billion fine from the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations related to Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy that abused profile data from tens of millions of Facebook users, Facebook negotiated to protect Zuckerberg from direct liability. Internal Facebook briefing materials revealed the tech giant was willing to abandon settlement talks and duke it out in court if the agency insisted on pursuing the CEO.
The current chair of the SEC, Gary Gensler, has said he wants to go much harder on white-collar crime. Experts said Gensler is potentially likely to weigh the Haugen complaint as he looks toward a new era of corporate accountability.
The end is coming
It seems that this focus directed by several media outlets on the details of the recent leaks and showing the inaction of the Facebook administration will not stop until there are clear positions on the platform or its management, and in addition to the idea of the Facebook president to change the name of the company, the recent news confirms that several countries have imposed financial fines and sanctions that the Facebook empire is about to decline.