Nick Clegg has the power now to right Facebook’s wrongs. This is how he needsto do it | Frances Haugen
Last month, Facebook – now relabelled Meta – CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the promo of Nick Clegg, the previous UK deputy prime minister, to lead Meta on all policy and public relations matters internationally.
What will Clegg do with his brand-new position? If history is any guide, he’s mostlikely to continue to be one of Facebook’s fiercest protectors, typically utilizing unreasonable, hypocritical arguments to promote Meta’s worst actions.
In 2020, Clegg declared Facebook simply “holds up a mirror to society,” while disregarding that Meta styles its algorithm to benefit the most severe and polarising material. My disclosures to US Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission verified that political celebrations throughout Europe – on the right and on the left – discovered Facebook algorithm modifications in 2018 required them into more severe political positions. In democratic societies, one might state Facebook votes priorto we do. And in war zones and delicate societies with weak law and order, Facebook can get individuals eliminated.
Then, in March 2021, Clegg discreetly moved his argument to state users and Facebook’s algorithms existside-by-side in a symbiotic relationship comparable to “taking 2 to tango”. By acknowledging the algorithm’s function in how Facebook runs, Clegg restored a hard concern for the business: why are those algorithms concealed from the public?
My disclosures verified years of alarms raised by supporters – that the Facebook algorithm hurts kids, stirs department, and damages our democracies.
And as we gointo the “fog of war” with Russia’s intrusion of Ukraine, we are seeing in genuine time how Russia is weaponising Facebook to spread its outrageous propaganda.
I’m an optimist by nature. I think individuals such as Nick Clegg can select to right these wrongs. And these 5 actions can make Facebook moresecure and more humane for its almost 3 billion users worldwide.
1. Stop offering autocrats complimentary rein to control complimentary societies
In 2018, Mark Zuckerberg assured US Congress that Facebook would invest in determining when Russia and other nations released impact networks to misshape truth and magnify lies. Facebook has the innovation to identify collaborated disinformation projects however drastically understaffs the groups accountable for taking them down – providing complimentary rein to bad stars on these platforms. It is undesirable that Facebook’s option to the weaponisation of its platforms is to ask the targets of these projects – such as the individuals of Ukraine – to lock down their own accounts when the genuine issue is Facebook’s hesitation to invest effectively in protecting its own platform.
2. Stop goinginto delicate societies without due diligence
Facebook’s prioritisation of earnings reveals most in its fast growth in societies around the world, typically without idea to the effects for individuals living in them. It does not scale its security systems alongwith this development.
Consider Myanmar. Facebook confessed it had stoppedworking to stop dreadful hate speech on its platform. The UN concluded Facebook played a “determining function” in sustaining genocide versus the Rohingya ethnic group. Nonetheless, Facebook declines to offer significant solutions to the Rohingya neighborhood for sustaining this violence.
Organisations such as Human Rights Watch appropriately supporter that tech business oughtto conduct thorough evaluations of how human rights might be hurt priorto they broaden items into vulnerable parts of the world.
In western Europe and the UnitedStates, we take for given gainaccessto to an open and independent web. Facebook needsto stop choking the open web as it’s born by payingoff users to usage Facebook over open options. Otherwise, when Facebook falls brief, individuals will have noplace else to turn.
3. Truth and openness – today
I came forward because of a frightening reality: nearly no one outdoors Facebook understands what occurs inside Facebook. In 2020, Mark Zuckerberg declared that Facebook’s algorithm took down “94% of hate speech”. But internal researchstudy from March 2021 revealed the business captures a tiny 3-5% of hate speech and just 0.6% of violence-inciting material.
Nick Clegg now can stop the lies. He needsto live up to his declares that Facebook will make itself more transparent. Clegg can take a easy action today: open up the algorithms for scientists to correctly examine the platform. Then, groups such as New York University’s Cybersecurity for Democracy researchstudy centre, cut off from gainaccessto to information by Facebook while analysing the spreadout of falseinformation, might infact see how the algorithm works.
4. Design for security, not censorship
Facebook’s policy and PR playbook hasactually centred public dispute on incorrect options inbetween censorship and liberty of expression. Its PR group promotes billion-dollar financialinvestments in material smallamounts however disregards internal researchstudies revealing that capacity item style options, such as restricting the number of reshares, would have almost the verysame effect as the third-party fact-checkers – without selecting winners or losers in the market of concepts.
5. Fix the genuine hurts – in the genuine world
Last fall, Facebook rebranded as Meta as part of a shift towards the “metaverse”, a virtual truth business. It insults individuals damaged by Meta’s present platforms that the business is rotating big resources to video videogames when its own internal researchstudy reveals 13.5% of teenage women in the UK stated Instagram made ideas of suicide or self-injury evenworse and 17% stated the platform makes their consuming problems evenworse. Fixing that needto be the toppriority.
The problems we face in the two-dimensional world of Facebook won’t amazingly vanish in the three-dimensional world of the metaverse, which currently dealswith grievances of searching and harassment. Clegg needsto need that Facebook repair today’s issues priorto he produces tomorrow’s monstrosity.
I neverever desired to be a whistleblower, however I understood that without the light of day on these perilous practices, we would neverever get the social media we shouldhave – social media that promotes our healthandwellbeing and safeguards our democracies.
Mr Clegg, this is your legacy-making minute. You have huge power to do great in the world. It is my genuine hope that you take this minute to produce the much-needed modification we all areworthyof from the business that assures to bring us closer together – however is stuck in a profit-driven cycle of tearing us apart.
Frances Haugen is a previous Facebook item supervisor, whistleblower and an supporter for responsibility and openness in social media
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