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Facebook whistleblower document released, stocks under pressure

Facebook Inc. Mark Zuckerberg, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the House Financial Services Committee, will attend a hearing at the House Financial Services Committee in Washington, DC on October 23, 2019.

Andrew Haller | Bloomberg | Getty Images

NS Facebook A series of articles published by a consortium of 17 US news outlets starting Friday, Papers, in the company’s thinking and foreign languages ​​behind the actions leading up to the January 6 riots in the Capitol. It sheds new light on the ability to dodge hate speech. English.

Facebook’s share price fell slightly early on Monday after the press published an article based on the leaked document. The company will also report quarterly earnings after the market closes on Monday.

The document was provided to the press by Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee who conducted an internal investigation of tens of thousands of pages with her before she left. Since then, she has provided these documents to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission in search of whistleblower status.

“The heart of these stories is a false assumption,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a statement in response to a mass press. “Yes, we are a business and profitable, but the idea of ​​doing so at the expense of people’s safety and well-being misunderstands where our own commercial interests are. The truth is Investing $ 13 billion and having more than 40,000 people. Doing one job: keeping people safe on Facebook. “

Here are some of the key themes that Facebook Papers has investigated so far:

January 6

The document revealed dissatisfaction with the company’s ability to disseminate content that could control violence among Facebook ranks.

“Did you not have enough time to understand how to manage discourse without enabling violence?” An employee said during a riot outside the US Capitol on January 6th. I wrote on the bulletin board. Associated Press.. “We’ve been fueling this fire for a long time, but don’t be surprised that it’s now out of control.”

Facebook has taken additional emergency measures prior to the 2020 elections to stop the spread of violent or dangerous content as needed. However, 22 of these measures were canceled by January 6 after the election, according to an internal document reviewed by the AP.

A Facebook spokesperson told the outlets that the use of these measures follows signals from its own platform and law enforcement agencies.

Language barrier

Several reports have shown how Facebook’s content moderation system leveled off when faced with languages ​​other than English.

AP reported Arabic is a particularly difficult task for content moderators. Arabic-speaking users have learned to use symbols and extra spaces in words that are likely to be flagged in the Facebook system, such as the names of radical groups.

While some of these methods are aimed at avoiding excessive content moderation systems, AP reports that certain measures have helped avoid Facebook’s hate speech censorship.

According to AP, “we were mistakenly implementing counterterrorism content in Arabic,” said an internal Facebook document. Meanwhile, the system “restricts users from participating in political speeches and hampers their right to freedom of expression,” he said.

Facebook told AP that it is investing more resources in hiring local dialect and topic experts to study ways to improve the system.

India

other Report Some Facebook employees have shown that they were disappointed with the company’s mishandling of information in India, believing that leadership had made a decision to avoid the anger of the Indian government.

Concerns about hate speech in the region were amplified by language barrier issues similar to those in the Middle East. According to AP, Facebook added hate speech classifiers in Hindi and Bengali in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

A researcher who set up an account as a user in India in 2019 saw “more images of the dead in the last three weeks than I’ve seen in my entire life” by following Facebook’s algorithm recommendations. I found in the news.According to the feed New York Times..

A Facebook spokesperson told the Times that hate speech to groups left behind in India and elsewhere is on the rise. We promise to update our policies as hate speech evolves online.

Retaining users

Other reports have shown the existential problems the company faces if it fails to retain a sufficient number of young users.

The platform is already experiencing a decline in engagement among teens, Reported by The Verge Based on internal documents.

“Most young people recognize Facebook as a place for people in their 40s and 50s,” said a team of data scientists in a March presentation, according to The Verge. “Young adults perceive content as boring, misleading, and negative. Often, you have to overcome irrelevant content to reach something important.”

The documentation showed that Facebook plans to test some ideas to increase teen engagement.

A Facebook spokeswoman told The Verge that the platform “is no different” from social media sites that want teens to use the service.

competition

Facebook has been fighting monopoly labels for the past few years. Many lawmakers and scholars say it is suitable for a platform of that size.

However, within that rank, Facebook employees acknowledge the vast power of the platform with details that could fuel ongoing and future antitrust proceedings. The FTC recently filed an amended complaint alleging that Facebook illegally maintains the monopoly of personal social networking services after the judge broke the first allegation.

According to the report from Politico, 78% of American adults and almost every teenager in the United States use Facebook services. TikTok and snap According to last year’s user survey, Facebook and Instagram are making progress with teenage users, connecting with other users with common interests and continuing to maintain a base for activities such as sharing photos and videos. increase.

And when they sign up, Facebook’s own research reports that few people actually leave the platform.

In a 2018 presentation reviewed by Politico, employees said, “Market share is growing,” even though Facebook-the-company is only “ok” with teens around the world. I have one of the top social products almost everywhere. “

Facebook spokesman Christopher Sgro told Politico: , Video, news, messaging features. “

This story is developing. Check for updates.

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Facebook whistleblower document released, stocks under pressure

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