Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said governments across the world have become “dependent on Facebook telling them how to solve Facebook’s problems”, leading to a lack of focus on actually achieving true transparency in legislation.
Speaking at Cambridge University this evening, Haugen said that the UK government should be putting transparency into place from day one when pushing through the Online Safety Bill.
She pointed to Europe’s recent Digital Services Act as a pioneer for embedding this practice into law, and said it [Europe] has “really taken the ball and ran with it”.
Crucially, she pushed back against the argument put forward by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg that misinformation and hate speech exists without Facebook.
She explained that platforms like Facebook and Instagram are an “amplifier and inducer” for this behaviour rather than a “mirror” for them; social networks provide a platform for bad actors to perform, and it is the responsibility for Facebook to act on this.
“Mark has solutions that he could use today”, Haugen explained, but added that the ‘profit over people’ mindset engrained into Facebook’s culture has made it undesirable for the Silicon Valley to actually act on.
She said we are heading towards the “cold war” of the internet, with developing countries moving towards an “authoritarian” model for tech, and away from “libertarian” social networks like Meta’s Facebook.
She said countries beyond the US, UK and Europe, like Ethiopia, have started to turn to Chinese tech as a result of a growing distrust towards Facebook and its role in misinformation.