by Thomas Eritt
BERLIN (Reuters) – Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen on Wednesday urged governments to oversee Facebook so that the company respects its promise not to use facial recognition technology.
Facebook made the announcement about the technology on Tuesday, in part in response to mounting criticism from regulators and lawmakers about user safety and abuses on its platforms. Activists say facial recognition technology poses a serious threat to privacy.
“I strongly advocate government oversight,” Haugen said. “When they say we got rid of it, what does it really mean?” she asked. “There has to be more transparency about how these operations work to ensure they actually meet their obligations.”
Before a meeting with Germany’s justice minister, the whistleblower, who had leaked a collection of documents about Facebook’s inner workings, added that the “principles-based” regulation of the European Union and Great Britain was more effective in curbing technology companies than the more rigid approach in the United States. Europe also had a special role to play in ensuring that Facebook improves its monitoring of content in languages other than English.
Facebook has faced criticism that accuses the company of not taking action against hate speech in languages other than English.
“A linguistically diverse place like Europe can be an advocate for everyone around the world who doesn’t speak English,” she said. “The reality is that Facebook has radically underinvested in safety and security systems for all languages other than English.”
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