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US lawmakers demand Fb probes as whistleblower testifies youngsters harmed

Former Fb worker and whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies throughout a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation listening to entitled ‘Defending Children On-line: Testimony from a Fb Whistleblower’ on Capitol Hill, in Washington, US, Oct. 5, 2021. (REUTERS)

WASHINGTON — US lawmakers pounded Fb on Tuesday, accusing CEO Mark Zuckerberg of pushing for larger income whereas being cavalier about consumer security they usually demanded regulators examine whistleblower accusations that the social media firm harms youngsters and stokes divisions.

Coming a day after Fb and its items together with Instagram suffered a significant outage, whistleblower Frances Haugen testified in a congressional listening to that “for greater than 5 hours Fb wasn’t used to deepen divides, destabilize democracies and make younger women and girls really feel dangerous about their our bodies.”

In an period when bipartisanship is uncommon on Capitol Hill, lawmakers from each events excoriated the almost $1 trillion firm in a listening to that exemplified the rising anger in Congress with Fb amid quite a few calls for for legislative reforms.

As lawmakers criticized Fb and Zuckerberg, the corporate’s spokespeople fought again on Twitter, arguing Haugen didn’t work instantly on a few of the points she was being questioned on.

Senate commerce subcommittee chair Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, mentioned Fb knew that its merchandise have been addictive, like cigarettes.

“Tech now faces that massive tobacco jawdropping second of fact,” he mentioned.

He referred to as for Zuckerberg to testify earlier than the committee, and for the Securities and Change Fee and Federal Commerce Fee to analyze the corporate.

“Our youngsters are those who’re victims. Teenagers immediately wanting within the mirror really feel doubt and insecurity. Mark Zuckerberg should be himself within the mirror,” Blumenthal mentioned, including that Zuckerberg as an alternative was going crusing.

Haugen, a former product supervisor on Fb’s civic misinformation staff who has turned whistleblower, mentioned Fb has sought to maintain its operations confidential.

“At present, no regulator has a menu of options for the best way to repair Fb, as a result of Fb didn’t need them to know sufficient about what’s inflicting the issues. In any other case, there wouldn’t have been a necessity for a whistleblower,” she mentioned.

The highest Republican on the subcommittee, Marsha Blackburn, mentioned that Fb turned a blind eye to youngsters under age 13 on its websites. “It’s clear that Fb prioritizes revenue over the well-being of youngsters and all customers.”

Sen. Roger Wicker, one other Republican, agreed.

“Youngsters of America are hooked on their product. There’s cynical data on behalf of those Massive Tech firms that that is true,” he mentioned.

Fb spokesman Kevin McAlister mentioned in an electronic mail forward of the listening to that the corporate sees defending its group as extra vital than maximizing income and mentioned it was not correct that leaked inner analysis demonstrated that Instagram was “poisonous” for teenage ladies.

Haugen revealed she was the one who offered paperwork utilized in a Wall Street Journal investigation and a Senate listening to on Instagram’s hurt to teenage ladies.

Final week, Antigone Davis, Fb’s international head of security, defended the corporate and mentioned that it was in search of to launch extra inner research in an effort to be extra clear about its findings.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, chair of the commerce committee, mentioned she would write a letter to Fb to insist that it not delete paperwork associated to Myanmar’s persecuted Muslim minority Rohingya. An aide mentioned she would ask for broader retention of paperwork.

Haugen mentioned Fb had additionally executed too little to stop its website from being utilized by individuals planning violence.

Fb was utilized by individuals planning mass killings in Myanmar and the Jan. 6 assault on the US Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump who have been decided to toss out the 2020 election outcomes.

Sen. Edward Markey, chatting with the absent Zuckerberg, mentioned through the listening to: “Your time of invading our privateness, and preying on youngsters is over. Congress can be taking motion.”

All through the listening to, lawmakers lambasted Zuckerberg, who they mentioned was going crusing fairly than going through his duties. The CEO this weekend posted a video taken with the corporate’s new good glasses of his wife in a boat.


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