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UK Parliament Will Hear Testimony From Facebook Whistleblower

Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower who claims the company prioritizes business before safety, will testify in front of the UK Parliament later this month.

On October 25, Ms. Haugen will testify before the Online Safety Bill committee.

It is considering enacting legislation that would require social media firms to protect users, particularly minors.

Ms. Haugen claims Facebook has a negative impact on children’s mental health and contributes to social divide.

Any such claims are categorically denied by Facebook, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling them “illogical.”

A Shocking Insight

The former Facebook employee had sent confidential papers to the Wall Street Journal, which published a series of pieces exposing Facebook’s inner workings in September.

Last week, she testified before a US Senate committee that Facebook refused to implement improvements that would make the site safer because it would hurt profitability.

She also wants the technology be regulated by the government, both in the United States and throughout the world.

One such piece of legislation may be the UK’s Online Safety Bill.

Ms Haugen’s evidence has “strengthened the argument for an independent regulator with the capacity to audit and examine the large internet corporations,” according to Damian Collins, who leads the committee studying the proposed law.

“There needs to be more openness on how businesses like Facebook make decisions that trade off user safety for user engagement,” he added.

Mr Collins also accused Mr Zuckerberg and former UK Deputy Prime Minister turned Facebook communications head Nick Clegg of seeking to “prevent any insights into how the business controls dangerous information… unless they have personally authorized them,” according to Mr Collins.

Ms. Haugen has also been asked to join a committee of MEPs studying “big tech’s detrimental impact” on users on November 8th.

Facebook has vehemently denied all of the accusations, claiming that Ms Haugen “mischaracterized… stolen information” and that the Wall Street Journal’s series of publications were false.

Following Ms. Haugen’s testimony last week, Mr. Zuckerberg wrote a message to his employees, saying, “It’s distressing to read news that misrepresents our work and our motivations.”

Among the numerous topics he addressed was the notion that it was lucrative for Facebook to sow dissatisfaction in order to retain people on the site, saying that advertisers did not pay to advertise on content that was contentious.

Facebook has also repeatedly emphasized its long-standing requests for industry-wide regulatory change.

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