There are many reasons why the Facebook executive Nick clegg may have been found in housekeeping over the weekend, chief among these being the damning revelations of Frances Haugen, the former product manager turned whistleblower who has armed the media and members of Congress with a barrage of internal documents from her time at the company. Testifying last week, Haugen urged lawmakers to impose regulations on the social media giant, just as the government did with the tobacco companies. “I believe Facebook products harm children, fuel division and weaken our democracy,” he told a Senate subcommittee, citing the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol as an insurrection aided by Facebook’s unwillingness to take over. cracking down on disinformation and hate speech.
That was apparently not a topic Clegg wanted to address during Sunday’s media blitz, The Guardian reports, while dodging questions about whether Facebook contributed to the attack by allowing pro-Trump electoral lies to proliferate and tried to hold individual actors accountable. “Since we have thousands of algorithms and millions of people using them, I can’t give a yes or no answer to the individual custom feeds that each person uses,” Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and policy, told CNN. State of the union. He also cited Facebook’s algorithm during a press hit on ABC. This week, in which he said that “we give users the ability to override the algorithm to compose their own newsfeed” and “we want to give users more control.”
Clegg outlined other talking points related to how Facebook is trying to “make us more and more transparent, so that people can hold us accountable,” as he told ABC, and spoke of new tools that help parents “monitor what do your teens online. ” . “On NBC Meet the pressClegg appeared to see the ball on the court of Congress as he asked lawmakers to intervene. “I don’t think anyone wants a private company to rule on these difficult trade-offs between freedom of expression on the one hand and the moderation or removal of content on the other” and “only legislators can create a digital regulator,” he told the outlet. . while insisting on position is not “a substitute for our responsibilities.” senator Amy klobuchar—Among the most vocal Critics of Big Techsaying CNN was grateful that Clegg “is willing to talk about things, but I think the time for the conversation is over, the time for action is now.” He also suggested that so far it’s been just that, talk, from leaders like Clegg. “If they are willing to sign, I totally agree, but so far we have not seen it.”
Facebook has also embarked on something of an internal damage control tour since Haugen went public, with “various corporate vice presidents” holding “live internal events with employees” on topics such as “what the company understands about polarization.” and “how were the executives keeping the platform secure”, the New York Times reports. Facebook’s growing concern was exposed in talking point memos, distributed by executives to employees, about how staff should respond when “friends and family ask them questions about recent events,” according to the Times. The talking point list reportedly included a denial that the company prioritizes profits and growth over people’s safety, a focal point of Haugen’s testimony. “The leadership of the company knows how to make Facebook and Instagram more secure, but they will not make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before the people,” he said.