The Facebook Whistleblower’s New 60 Minutes Interview Reveals 9 Horrifying Facts

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Screenshot: CBS News/60 Minutes – You already thought Facebook was making the world a terrible place, but it’s far worse. The Wall Street Journal revealed internal Facebook data last week, revealing that the social media corporation is well aware of how toxic its own product is for its users. But we found out tonight how the Journal got those documents: Frances Haugen, a whistleblower who talked with CBS News’ 60 Minutes on how Facebook is destroying society.

The 37-year-old whistleblower has obtained “tens of thousands” of pages of papers from Facebook and is scheduled to appear before Congress later this week. At least eight SEC complaints have been filed by Haugen alleging that Facebook misled to shareholders about its own product.

Fundamentally, Haugen claims that there is a fundamental contradiction between what is beneficial for Facebook and what is good for society. According to Haugen, things that are excellent for Facebook are bad for the world we live in at the end of the day. We’ve selected a few of the more fascinating snippets from Sunday’s conversation to emphasize this fundamental point.

1) Facebook’s algorithm displays people items that are meant to irritate them

According to Haugen, Facebook’s algorithm favors content that is likely to enrage consumers since it generates the greatest engagement. And it is via user interaction that Facebook converts ad dollars.

“Its own study shows that nasty, divided, controversial information is easier to inspire people to rage than it is to inspire them to other emotions,” Haugen told 60 Minutes.

“Facebook has learned that if they modify the algorithm to make it safer, people will spend less time on the site, click on fewer advertisements, and they will make less money,” Haugen added.

2) Facebook is worse than the majority of other social media firms.

When we speak about social media and how it has affected society, we tend to group together a lot of Big Tech firms, whether it’s Twitter, YouTube, or Pinterest. However, according to Haugen, Facebook is particularly bad.

Haugen told 60 Minutes, “I’ve seen a number of social networks, and it was considerably worse at Facebook than anything I’d seen before.”

Haugen formerly worked at Pinterest and Google and believes that Facebook is far worse than the rest of Big Tech.

3) After the 2020 election and before the Capitol insurgency on January 6, Facebook disbanded its Civic Integrity team.

Haugen worked for Facebook’s Civic Integrity section, which was responsible for fighting political disinformation on the site. However, the social media business appeared to believe that they would be safe after the November 2020 presidential election in the United States, and that Civic Integrity would be shut down.

“They said, ‘We’re going to dissolve Civic Integrity.’ ‘Oh good, we made it through the election,’ they basically stated. There were no riots to speak of. Civic Integrity is no longer necessary.’ After a few months, we had the insurgency,” Haugen explained.

It’s crucial to realize that Facebook is undermining democratic institutions all across the world, not just in the United States.

4) European political parties placed negative advertising on Facebook because it was the only method to contact people.

According to one of the documents smuggled out of the business by Haugen, European political parties had to start buying negative advertising in order to generate any interaction on Facebook.

“You are forcing us to accept views that we don’t like, that we know are harmful for society,” Haugen summarized the stance of political parties in Europe. We know that if we don’t take those stances, we won’t be able to compete in the social media marketplace.”

5) Facebook only detects a small percentage of the platform’s hatred and disinformation.

According to one of the studies obtained by Haugen, Facebook’s internal research reveals that it detects only 3-5 percent of hate on the site and less than 1% of violence and incitement. Despite this, Facebook believes it is the best in the world in detecting hatred and incitement on social media.

Naturally, Facebook takes issue with this portrayal. In fact, according to a statement provided to Gizmodo on Sunday night, the firm appears to believe the underlying issue is the internet itself.

According to a Facebook spokesman, “if any research had discovered a precise answer to these complicated issues, the tech sector, governments, and society would have addressed them a long time ago.” “We have a proven track record of leveraging internal and external research, as well as close engagement with experts and organizations, to inspire improvements to our apps.”

6) Instagram is causing children to be unhappy.

According to 60 Minutes, the records obtained by Haugen reveal that 13.5 percent of young females believe Instagram makes their suicidal thoughts worse, and 17 percent say it makes their eating problems worse.

“What’s really terrible is that, according to Facebook’s own study, when these young women read this— this eating disorder information, they get increasingly unhappy. It also encourages people to utilize the app more frequently. As a result, people get caught in a feedback loop where they despise their bodies more and more,” Haugen explained to 60 Minutes.

And that’s all part of the plan. Facebook is profiting handsomely from this suffering. Facebook, on the other hand, clearly has a different viewpoint.

“We do internal research to ask tough questions and determine how we can best enhance the experience for teenagers, and we will continue to do so to improve Instagram and all of our applications. The claim that leaked internal data shows Instagram is “toxic” for young females is false, according to Lena Pietsch, Director of Policy Communications, who responded to Gizmodo through email.

“The study revealed that many of the kids we spoke with believe that using Instagram helps them deal with the types of difficult situations and challenges that teenagers have always encountered. Teens have both positive and bad experiences with social media, according to our study and other external studies on the topic,” Pietsch added.

7) Facebook employees aren’t inherently bad people; they just have weird motivations.

Haugen claims that Facebook employees aren’t horrible people, which seems like something a former Facebook employee would say.

“No one at Facebook is evil, but the incentives aren’t appropriate, are they?” Haugen is adamant about it. “Like, when you consume more material, Facebook earns more money. People like interacting with items that make them feel something. And the more they’re exposed to rage, the more they engage and consume.”

While it’s understandable that Haugen believes “no one” at Facebook is malicious, it’s a big assertion at this time. In the twenty-first century, Facebook’s detrimental influence on society isn’t precisely a secret.

Facebook, yet again, does not agree.

Lena Pietsch told Gizmodo via email late Sunday that “protecting our community is more essential than maximizing our profits.” “To claim we disregard criticism overlooks our investments, which include 40,000 employees working on safety and security at Facebook and a $13 billion investment since 2016.”

8) For some inexplicable reason, Haugen develops pity for Zuck.

“I sympathize with Mark a lot. And Mark has never intended to create a divisive platform. However, he has enabled decisions to be made with the result that nasty, divisive information has more exposure and reach,” Haugen told 60 Minutes.

But, as Haugen pointed out, it doesn’t really matter if Zuckerberg intended to create a divisive platform. In truth, he set out to create a website where ladies could be rated on their attractiveness, but that’s beside the point. What counts is how the platform is now being utilized and exploited.

9) Haugen feels she is protected under whistleblower laws, but we’ll have to wait and see.

When 60 Minutes spoke with John Tye, Haugen’s lawyer and a whistleblower, we learned how the law protects those who speak with the SEC.

“The Dodd-Frank Act, which was approved over 10 years ago at this time, established a Whistleblower Office within the SEC. And one of the sections of that statute specifies that no corporation may prevent its workers from interacting with the SEC or sharing internal corporate records with the SEC,” Tye said on 60 Minutes.

While Dodd-Frank protects workers who speak with the SEC in theory, it does not necessarily protect employees who speak with media and take hundreds of pages of documentation. But we’ll find out fairly quickly how much protection whistleblowers have in the United States. Let’s just say the response has been “not much” in the past.