Facebook profits rise amid Facebook Papers findings – Whittier Daily News – Big Tech Too Big

Facebook profits rise amid Facebook Papers findings – Whittier Daily News

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Facebook is no stranger to the confrontation of public relations concerns, whistleblowers, and even the democratic process. Facebook has a program other than to “give people the power to build community and bring the world more detailed together.”

It now looks like along with dumping the “It’s totally free and always will be” motto from its homepage, it has likewise ended up being clear that “Facebook misled investors and the public about its function perpetuating false information and violent extremism connecting to the 2020 election and January 6th insurrection.”– Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen

Dripped files had started appearing in the Wall Street Journal and stunning observations started to capture the eyes of lawmakers worldwide.

There have been scandals concerning how Facebook manages its method to data personal privacy. Content small amounts and policy surrounding hate speech and the silencing of specific groups have actually also come under the microscopic lense. The “Facebook Papers” however, and the numerous stories undoubtedly still to come from their intro into the general public world, discuss much deeper issues about Facebook as a whole. Facebook’s technique to eliminating hate speech and misinformation, managing worldwide growth, safeguarding younger users on its platform, and even its ability to properly measure the size of its enormous audience are all now placed on serious blast.

As we view this huge company evade and weave away such accusations, something stays extremely evident. Facebook has actually become too big to fail! The question we have to ask is … are they in fact efficient in managing the “real-world” damages from its staggeringly big platforms?

From Facebook – It must be rough when your own platform has so many negative things to embed.

Facebook profits rise amid Facebook Papers findings – Whittier Daily News – Data Integrity

By BARBARA ORTUTAY and KELVIN CHAN

Amid fallout from the Facebook Papers documents supporting claims that the social network has valued financial success over user safety, Facebook on Monday reported higher profit for the latest quarter.

The company’s latest show of financial strength followed an avalanche of reports on the Facebook Papers — a vast trove of redacted internal documents obtained by a consortium of news organizations, including The Associated Press — as well as Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s Monday testimony to British lawmakers.

Facebook said its net income grew 17% in the July-September period to $9.19 billion, buoyed by strong advertising revenue. That’s up from $7.85 billion a year earlier. Revenue grew 35% to $29.01 billion. The results exceeded analyst expectations for Facebook’s results.

The company’s shares rose 2.5% in after-hours trading after closing up 1% for the day.

“For now, the revenue picture for Facebook looks as good as can be expected,” said eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. But she predicted more revelations and described the findings so far as “unsettling and stomach-churning.”

CEO Mark Zuckerberg made only a brief mention of what he called the “recent debate around our company.” Largely repeating statements he made after Haugen’s Oct. 5 testimony before a U.S. Senate subcommittee, he insisted that he welcomes “good faith criticism” but considers the current storm a “coordinated effort” to paint a “false picture” of the company based on leaked documents.

“It makes a good soundbite to say that we don’t solve these impossible tradeoffs because we’re just focused on making money, but the reality is these questions are not primarily about our business, but about balancing difficult social values,” Zuckerberg said.

Haugen, meanwhile, told a British parliamentary committee Monday that the social media giant stokes online hate and extremism, fails to protect children from harmful content and lacks any incentive to fix the problems, providing momentum for efforts by European governments working on stricter regulation of tech companies.

While her testimony echoed much of what she told the U.S. Senate this month, her in-person appearance drew intense interest from a British parliamentary committee that is much further along in drawing up legislation to rein in the power of social media companies.

Haugen told the committee of United Kingdom lawmakers that Facebook Groups amplifies online hate, saying algorithms that prioritize engagement take people with mainstream interests and push them to the extremes. The former Facebook data scientist said the company could add moderators to prevent groups over a certain size from being used to spread extremist views.

“Unquestionably, it’s making hate worse,” she said.

Haugen said she was “shocked” to hear that Facebook wants to double down on what Zuckerberg calls “the metaverse,” the company’s plan for an immersive online world it believes will be the next big internet trend.

“They’re gonna hire 10,000 engineers in Europe to work on the metaverse,” Haugen said. “I was like, ‘Wow, do you know what we could have done with safety if we had 10,000 more engineers?’” she said.

Facebook says it wants regulation for tech companies and was glad the U.K. was leading the way.

“While we have rules against harmful content and publish regular transparency reports, we agree we need regulation for the whole industry so that businesses like ours aren’t making these decisions on our own,” Facebook said Monday.

It pointed to investing $13 billion (9.4 billion pounds) on safety and security since 2016 and asserted that it’s “almost halved” the amount of hate speech over the last three quarters.

Haugen accused Facebook-owned Instagram of failing to keep children under 13 — the minimum user age — from opening accounts, saying it wasn’t doing enough to protect kids from content that, for example, makes them feel bad about their bodies.

“Facebook’s own research describes it as an addict’s narrative. Kids say, ‘This makes me unhappy, I feel like I don’t have the ability to control my usage of it, and I feel like if I left, I’d be ostracized,‘” she said.

The company last month delayed plans for a kids’ version of Instagram, geared toward those under 13, in order to address concerns about the vulnerability of younger users.

Pressed on whether she believes Facebook is fundamentally evil, Haugen demurred and said, “I can’t see into the hearts of men.” Facebook is not evil, but negligent, she suggested.

It was Haugen’s second appearance before lawmakers after she testified in the U.S. about the danger she says the company poses, from harming children to inciting political violence and fueling misinformation. Haugen cited internal research documents she secretly copied before leaving her job in Facebook’s civic integrity unit.

The documents, which Haugen provided to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, allege Facebook prioritized profits over safety and hid its own research from investors and the public. Some stories based on the files have already been published, exposing internal turmoil after Facebook was blindsided by the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot and how it dithered over curbing divisive content in India. More is to come.

Representatives from Facebook and other social media companies plan to speak to the British committee Thursday.

Haugen is scheduled to meet next month with European Union officials in Brussels, where the bloc’s executive commission is updating its digital rulebook to better protect internet users by holding online companies more responsible for illegal or dangerous content.

Under the U.K. rules, expected to take effect next year, Silicon Valley giants face an ultimate penalty of up to 10% of their global revenue for any violations. The EU is proposing a similar penalty.

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See full coverage of the “Facebook Papers” here: https://apnews.com/hub/the-facebook-papers

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Associated Press writer Marcy Gordon in Washington contributed to this report.

From our friends at: www.whittierdailynews.com

Facebook tries to turn the page

Facebook, for its part, has repeatedly tried to discredit Haugen and stated her testimony and reports on the documents mischaracterize its actions and efforts.
“At the heart of these stories is a property which is incorrect,” a Facebook spokesperson stated in a declaration to CNN. “Yes, we’re a service and we earn a profit, however the idea that we do so at the cost of people’s safety or health and wellbeing misinterprets where our own commercial interests lie.”
In a tweet thread recently, the business’s Vice President of Communications, John Pinette, called the Facebook Papers a “curated selection out of millions of files at Facebook” which “can in no other way be utilized to draw fair conclusions about us.” However even that reaction is informing—- if Facebook has more documents that would inform a fuller story, why not release them? (During her Senate statement Facebook’s Davis stated Facebook is “looking for methods to launch more research study.”).
A chest of internal Facebook documents leaked by whistleblower Frances Haugen has actually begun a wave of protection of the company, starting with the Wall Street Journal’s “Facebook Files” and now as a consortium of other news companies roll out stories on the same files.
A trove of internal Facebook documents dripped by whistleblower Frances Haugen has started a wave of protection of the company, beginning with the Wall Street Journal’s “Facebook Files” and now as a consortium of other wire service roll out stories on the same files.
Rather, Facebook is now supposedly preparing to rebrand itself under a new name as early as today, as the wave of crucial protection continues. (Facebook previously declined to talk about this report.) The relocation seems a clear attempt to turn the page, but a fresh coat of paint will not fix the underlying problems detailed in the documents– just Facebook, or whatever it may soon be called, can do that.
Take the example of a report published by the Journal on September 16 that highlighted internal Facebook research about a violent Mexican drug cartel, called Cartél Jalisco Nueva Generación. The cartel was stated to be using the platform to post violent material and recruit new members using the acronym “CJNG,” despite the fact that it had been designated internally as one of the “Dangerous People and Organizations” whose material should be gotten rid of. Facebook told the Journal at the time that it was purchasing artificial intelligence to boost its enforcement versus such groups.
Despite the Journal’s report last month, CNN recently identified disturbing content connected to the group on Instagram, including images of guns, and photo and video posts in which people appear to have been shot or beheaded. After CNN asked Facebook about the posts, a representative confirmed that numerous videos CNN flagged were gotten rid of for violating the company’s policies, and a minimum of one post had a caution added.

Facebook knew it was being used to prompt violence in Ethiopia. It did little to stop the spread, files reveal.

Haugen has suggested Facebook’s failure to fix such issues remains in part since it focuses on profit over social excellent, and, in many cases, due to the fact that the business does not have the capacity to put out its lots of fires at once.
” Facebook is exceptionally thinly staffed … and this is because there are a great deal of technologists that look at what Facebook has done and their unwillingness to accept duty, and individuals just aren’t prepared to work there,” Haugen stated in a briefing with the “Facebook Papers” consortium recently. “So they have to make extremely, very, really deliberate options on what does or does not get achieved.”.
Facebook has actually invested an overall of $13 billion since 2016 to improve the security of its platforms, according to the business spokesperson. (By contrast, the business’s annual revenue topped $85 billion in 2015 and its earnings struck $29 billion.) The spokesperson likewise stated Facebook has “40,000 people dealing with the safety and security on our platform, consisting of 15,000 people who evaluate content in more than 70 languages operating in more than 20 areas all across the world to support our community.”.
” We have actually likewise taken down over 150 networks looking for to control public dispute given that 2017, and they have come from over 50 countries, with the bulk coming from or focused beyond the United States,” the spokesperson said. “Our performance history shows that we crackdown on abuse outside the US with the same strength that we use in the US.”.
Still, the files suggest that the company has much more work to do to remove all of the numerous harms described in the files and to resolve the unintended consequences of Facebook’s unmatched reach and combination into our every day lives.

How Facebook Is Attempting To Maintain Users.

Facebook executives recently admitted that more youthful teenagers are deserting the website for more recent mobile messaging and social sharing apps, while a study from previously this year discovered that the social network lost 11 million active users in general in the U.S. and Britain. Here are some alternatives Facebook is thinking about to retain its existing users and win back those who have defected:.

Zuckerberg’s public claims often conflict with internal research study.

Haugen recommendations Zuckerberg’s public statements a minimum of 20 times in her SEC problems, asserting that the CEO’s special degree of control over Facebook forces him to bear ultimate responsibility for a litany of societal damages caused by the business’s unrelenting pursuit of growth.

The files likewise reveal that Zuckerberg’s public statements are typically at odds with internal business findings.

For example, Zuckerberg affirmed last year prior to Congress that the company removes 94 percent of the hate speech it finds. In internal files, scientists approximated that the company was getting rid of less than 5 percent of all hate speech on Facebook.

Facebook spokesperson Dani Lever denied that Zuckerberg “makes decisions that cause harm” and dismissed the findings, saying they are “based upon selected documents that are mischaracterized and lacking any context.”.

It isn’t clear whether the SEC is examining Facebook or whether it would see enough product in the disclosures to necessitate an examination of whether the business could have misinformed investors. The SEC decreased to comment. The commission isn’t needed to take any action on whistleblowers’ tips, and when it carries out investigations, it does so on a personal basis as a matter of policy. In an annual report, the SEC stated it got over 6,900 whistleblower tips in the financial year ending September 2020.

A number of securities law experts said it would not be easy to show wrongdoing.

” Regulators like clean cases and they like where somebody is on tape doing something incorrect,” said Joshua Mitts, a securities law teacher at Columbia University. Haugen’s allegations are barely a “clean case,” he stated.

Facebook pushback.

Facebook’s public relations chief recently stated Haugen’s disclosures were an “orchestrated ‘gotcha’ campaign” assisted by her public relations consultants.

” A curated choice out of millions of documents at Facebook can in no other way be utilized to draw reasonable conclusions about us,” Facebook’s vice president for interactions, John Pinette, stated in a tweet ahead of the release of the Haugen disclosures.

” Internally, we share operate in progress and dispute alternatives. Not every recommendation stands up to the scrutiny we must use to decisions impacting so lots of individuals,” Pinette said.

Haugen has actually gotten assistance from knowledgeable attorneys and public relations consultants. A firm run by Bill Burton, an Obama White Home spokesperson, is handling media requests, and Haugen is represented by attorneys from Whistleblower Aid, a nonprofit organization.

The disclosures made by Haugen’s attorneys show a roiling internal dispute at Facebook at the same time it has remained in a severe external spotlight, with congressional hearings, personal privacy investigations, antitrust lawsuits, and other scrutiny by outsiders.

And the turmoil may prove a bigger danger than any external analysis due to the fact that Facebook relies for its success on having the ability to bring in and keep a few of the world’s top software application engineers and technologists. If the business can’t attract, retain and encourage gifted staff members, it might lose its ability to contend effectively, it said in its most current annual report in January.

A Facebook employee wrote on an internal message board on Jan. 6: “We have actually been handling questions we can’t answer from our buddies, family, and market associates for many years. Hiring, in specific, has actually gotten harder throughout the years as Facebook’s ethical credibility continues to weaken (all while our technical reputation continues to increase).”.

Facebook said in a statement that 83 percent of its employees say they ‘d suggest it as a fantastic location to work and that it has hired more workers this year than in any previous year.

Triggering ‘social-civil war’.
Another set of Haugen’s files explains how the computer algorithm behind Facebook’s news feed– the formula that identifies what posts individuals see and in which order– caused unexpected consequences over years and months.

Facebook announced that it would reword the algorithm in January 2018, stating it would highlight “significant social interactions” and provide more weight to comments, reactions, and re-shares amongst buddies, rather than posts from organizations and brands.

By the next year, the modifications had resounded throughout European politics.

” Political parties across Europe declare that Facebook’s algorithm change in 2018 [concerning social interactions] has actually changed the nature of politics. For the even worse,” a worker wrote in an April 2019 internal post. Facebook was accountable for a “social-civil war” in online political discourse in Poland, the person stated, handing down a phrase from discussions with political operatives there. (The Facebook worker doesn’t call the political parties or the operatives associated with the “social-civil war” or what concerns were at the forefront. A Polish election later that year concentrated on the expansion of the welfare state, European combination, and gay rights, Reuters reported.) Extremist political parties in various countries commemorated the way the brand-new algorithm rewarded their “justification techniques” for subjects such as immigration, the Facebook worker composed.

Studying the impact of the algorithm change became a priority for lots of financial experts, statisticians, and others who operate at Facebook studying the platform, the files show. A study published internally in December 2019 said Facebook’s algorithms “are not neutral” however rather worth content that will get a response, any response, with the outcome that “outrage and false information are more likely to be viral.”

” We understand that numerous things that produce engagement on our platform leave users divided and depressed,” wrote the scientist, whose name was redacted.

Prospective repercussions.
Some securities law professionals said accusations like Haugen’s would not necessarily set off an SEC investigation.

” Do they really go to the core of what the SEC is needed to police?” asked Charles Clark, a former assistant director of the SEC’s enforcement division, who stated parts of the allegations didn’t appear to plainly break securities law. “Some of what she’s grumbling about is necessary to Congress and is necessary to the world at big but isn’t truly connected to the required of the SEC.”

Clark added, however, that one of Haugen’s accusations– that Facebook is potentially inflating user counts and other metrics important to marketers– “is the kind of matter that the SEC has actually concentrated on for several years.”

Securities law experts likewise do not rule out how the SEC might react. Harvey Pitt, a previous SEC chair, stated that he thinks Haugen’s claims are credible and that the commission ought to investigate whether Facebook met its legal responsibilities in making disclosures to financiers.

Even that reaction is informing—- if Facebook has more documents that would inform a fuller story, why not launch them? (Throughout her Senate testament Facebook’s Davis stated Facebook is “looking for ways to launch more research study.”).
The move appears to be a clear effort to turn the page, however a fresh coat of paint won’t fix the underlying issues detailed in the documents– just Facebook, or whatever it might quickly be called, can do that.
The representative also stated Facebook has “40,000 individuals working on the security and security on our platform, including 15,000 people who examine content in more than 70 languages working in more than 20 locations all throughout the world to support our community.”.

Facebook was accountable for a “social-civil war” in online political discourse in Poland, the individual stated, passing on an expression from conversations with political operatives there.

facebook is killing democracy

There is so much more to come involving the Facebook papers, the whistleblower, and the public relations nightmare that now involves the integrity of the democracy of the United States of America. You can be certain that facebook is just too big to fail. They always find a way out of any trouble they seem to get into. I think we need to start looking at why that is.

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