Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg disagrees with whistleblower Frances Haugen’s accusations. In a post on his own Facebook on Wednesday, he says the current coverage does not reflect the company he knows. From documents Haugen sent to The Wall Street Journal leaked, it appears that the company has long known that the Instagram app may harm the mental health of insecure teenage girls and that its algorithms could cause a discord in society. The former Facebook employee says the company thinks profit is more important than user safety.
Zuckerberg says the company places great importance on issues such as safety, well-being and mental health. “It’s hard to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives,” he said. Haugen’s claims make no sense, he says. He says that many people are employed to block harmful content on Facebook. In addition, the company has been transparent in sharing results and has established a research program to understand key issues, such as mental health. According to him, polarization has increased in the United States, but he says that social media is not the cause, as polarization decreases or remains the same in countries that use social media just as intensively.
Whistleblower Haugen says Facebook is partly responsible for the storming of the Capitol on January 6 this year by supporters of then-President Donald Trump. According to her, around the elections, Facebook took strict action against fake news and messages with a violent tone, but too soon this was no longer paid attention to. This created online doubts about the legality of the elections and an appeal could be made for the storming. Zuckerberg says that Facebook has been advocating better internet regulations for years. Instead, he wants regulations on how companies should deal with messages about elections, harmful content, privacy and competition.
Zuckerberg finds the news about the influence of social media on children especially important. He says his own research showed that Instagram had a good influence on the mental health of teenagers. Teenage girls who faced serious problems such as loneliness, anxiety, sadness and eating problems often said in research, according to Zuckerberg, that Instagram reduced rather than exacerbated these problems. He does acknowledge that there are also negative experiences, which he calls “incredibly sad”.
Read Haugen’s profile: This woman wants to expose how dangerous Facebook is