Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday (US time) responded to claims that showed the social media giant in a negative light by saying that the accusations that it puts profit over user safety are “just not true”.
A former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen, 37, revealed her identity as she testified before US lawmakers saying that the social media giant fuels division, harms children and needs to be regulated. Zuckerberg’s statement comes a day after the company faced a more than six-hour-long blackout across platforms due to a “faulty configuration change”. Services on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were affected in one of the longest outages the company ever faced.
“The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” Zuckerberg posted a note to Facebook employees on his account.
“I don’t know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed. The moral, business and product incentives all point in the opposite direction,” he added.
Haugen appeared on “60 Minutes” Sunday night where she described how Facebook routinely made “disastrous” choices that put their business interests ahead of children, public safety, privacy and even democracy.
“I used to work at Facebook. I joined Facebook because I think Facebook has the potential to bring out the best in us. But I’m here today because I believe Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy,” Frances Haugen said in her testimony at the hearing of the subcommittee on consumer protection, product safety, and data security.
“Facebook over and over again chose to optimise for its own interests like making more money,” she told “60 Minutes”, as quoted by Bloomberg.
“When it comes to young people’s health or well-being, every negative experience matters. We have worked for years on industry-leading efforts to help people in these moments and I’m proud of the work we’ve done,” Zuckerberg contested.
Last month, Wall Street Journal published internal Facebook research, provided by Haugen, that claimed Instagram made some mental health issues worse for teenagers on the platform. The company, which was developing a version of Instagram for children, has put that project on hold.