Facebooks troubles compounds with whistleblower and service outage - The Average Joe

    Facebooks troubles compounds with whistleblower and service outage

    Victor Lei — Head of Research

    October 5, 2021

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    October 5, 2021

    The bad news for Facebook keeps adding up. An outage took down Facebook and its other platforms including WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger, but that’s the least of its worries…

    What’s the big deal? Last month, WSJ published the “Facebook Files” with leaked internal docs showing evidence that Facebook prioritized profits over user safety. According to the reports, Facebook:

    • Knows its product can cause harm to teens but hasn’t made any changes.
    • Relaxed its misinformation standards after the 2020 presidential election — before the riots at the US Capitol.

    Last Sunday, Frances Haugen, the whistleblower — who leaked the docs to WSJ — is now testifying before Congress, expressing interest in cooperating with state attorney generals and European regulators.

    Last month, FB’s own research team reported Instagram to have negative mental effects on teens:

    • 6% of American teens have suicidal thoughts after using Instagram.
    • Just a few weeks later, FB disputed its own research — angering its internal researchers in the process.

    Pivotal moment: For years, Facebook dealt with data privacy issues and political scrutiny — and each time, it fended off the PR nightmares with its stock price eventually reaching new highs. But this time, things are looking different:

    • This is the first time such detailed evidence showed Facebook’s own awareness of the harm it caused.
    • Current and former employees are speaking out on Facebook’s issues.

    Lawmakers are also trying to break up Facebook’s core products, accusing it of monopoly tactics like buying out the competition.

    And politicians are out for blood — feeling deceived after previously asking for internal research on Instagram’s mental health effects — which Facebook hadn’t shared.

    Not just politics: On the business side, Facebook was severely impacted by recent changes from Apple’s iOS — affecting Facebook’s ad performances.

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