Hot potatoes: While Facebook (or Meta, as it is now called) might have thought 2018, the year of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, would forever be its worst 12-month year, 2021 has taken on that unwanted title – and it’s not over. The company is now facing accusations that it tried to blacken the name of its former employee turned informant Francis Haugen among Washington politicians.
Earlier this year, Haugen was leaked from internal documents that revealed that Facebook knows how detrimental its social media platforms are to society, including Instagram’s defining impact on the mental health of teenage girls.
Haugen also said that changes to Facebook’s algorithms disabled some of the security measures designed to combat the spread of disinformation and may have contributed to the unrest at the Capitol. She also said the company ranks different countries by importance when it comes to content moderation. The aftermath led Facebook to temporarily suspend plans for its Instagram app for kids and Congress summoned executives to several hearings.
In accordance with Wall Street MagazineWashington lobbyists and Facebook PR staff launched an assault on Hogen after her appearance on CBS’s 60 Minutes. The team allegedly warned Democrats that Republicans would use the Haugen leaks to overturn the company’s decision to ban publications in support of Kenoshi shooter Kyle Rittenhouse, which has since been overturned.
Meanwhile, Republicans were told that Haugen was a Democratic activist who wanted to strengthen President Biden’s administration. Her public relations company, run by former employees of President Obama, has been put forward as evidence of this claim.
Members of both parties who spoke to the newspaper said the calls were an attempt to prevent lawmakers from uniting against Facebook / Meta. But Haugen was invited to testify before Congress, prompting a bipartisan group of lawmakers to work on stricter rules for social media companies.
In addition, the magazine writes that CEO Mark Zuckerberg has advised employees not to apologize for the Facebook study, which he calls “mis-characterized.” Instagram’s head of public policy, Karina Newton, wrote that these horrific reports focus on “a limited set of findings and put them in a negative light.”
Earlier this month, a poll found Facebook / Meta to be ranked worst company of 2021 by a wide margin, with 50% more votes than runner-up Alibaba, which came as no surprise.