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Hey there, listeners. It's Brett Molina. Welcome back to Talking Tech. My co-host, Mike Snider, is off today. A big Monday for Facebook. Whistleblower Frances Haugen, who shared a series of documents describing the inner workings at Facebook and how they make decisions affecting its three billion plus users, testified before British Parliament, echoing a lot of what we heard weeks ago before, in Congress, where she talks about how Facebook has prioritized profits over people. During her testimony in front of Parliament, Haugen said she was concerned with several concepts related to Facebook, such as ranking posts based on engagement and the "false choices" that Facebook presents by reducing discussions on how to act in a battle between transparency versus privacy.
This is one of the things she says, "Right now the failures of Facebook are making it harder for us to regulate Facebook." She also discusses things like the influence of groups and how that spreads misinformation and polarizing content, and she talks about how it actually makes hate worse. She suggested some solutions as well to help curb the spread, shifting away from ranking based on engagement, returning to user feeds that were presented in chronological order so you would essentially see updates from friends, family, etc. from most recent on down the line as opposed to using an algorithm to determine what you see on your feed. Facebook has pushed back, though, on a lot of these changes that could impact its bottom line.
Another quote from Haugen, "They don't want to lose that growth. They don't want one percent shorter sessions because that's one percent less revenue." She also had some comments about the oversight board, which is the body that makes decisions on content moderation for Facebook. She sought the board to seek more transparency in its relationship with the tech giant. This all follows internal documents being obtained by USA Today and other outlets that show that Facebook knew its users were being driven apart by a wide range of dangerous and divisive content despite its push to bring people closer together. The company has responded to these documents and the immediate attention surrounding it. You'll recall a lot of the reports in The Wall Street Journal weeks ago. They've said the premise behind all these stories is false.
Here's one of their quotes, "Yes, we're a business and we make profit, but the idea that we do so at the expense of peoples' safety and wellbeing misunderstands where our own commercial interests lie." This is obviously a very big story. It's not going away any time soon. I think the big question for a lot of folks, for Facebook, anyone following this, will this lead to any form of regulation? Are lawmakers going to step in and bring some forth of regulatory scrutiny, rules, what have you, over Facebook and over social media? We will obviously find out more about this in the weeks and months to come.
You can follow all of our coverage related to these documents, the testimony before parliament, and everything else related to Facebook on tech.usatoday.com. Listeners, let's hear from you. If you have any comments, questions or show ideas, any tech problems you want us to try to address, you can find me on Twitter @BrettMolina23. Please don't forget to subscribe and rate us or leave a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, anywhere you get your podcasts. You've been listening to Talking Tech. We'll be back tomorrow with another quick hit from the world of tech.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Facebook whistleblower testifies before Parliament: Talking Tech podcast