A former Google consultant has blasted Facebook for ‘putting people before profit’ after damning reports emerged the company ignored warnings that it was causing harm by promoting divisive content and damaging teenage girls’ mental health.
Joe Toscano, who appeared in the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma, which examines the negative effects of Big Tech, told Fox News : ‘The reality is Facebook’s just doing business as usual, right?
‘What’s Facebook’s product? We always got to keep going back to that. What’s their product? The reality is their product is outrage, its scandal, its sex. It’s anything that will get you to click.’
Internal documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal indicate that Facebook employees were worried that a 2018 algorithm promoted content that made users angrier and more likely to argue about politics or race instead of what it was aimed at doing – strengthening relationships between family and friends.
The internal memos seen by the Journal also indicated that Facebook officials were made aware that Instagram was toxic for young girls who struggled with body image issues.
It warned that among teens who felt suicidal, 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced their suicidal feelings to Instagram.
Facebook was also found to have been running a secret ‘whitelist’ which shielded celebrities, politicians, and other VIPs from enforcement of its guidelines even if they spread harmful and malicious content that would get others banned. Joe Toscano slammed Facebook for putting for ‘putting people before profit’ following the release of damning internal reports The Wall Street Journal obtained memos on Facebook’s algorithm overhaul of 2018
The algorithm, which was introduced in 2018 after internal data showed a decline in user engagement, gave people incentive to post negative comments that sparked a reaction and debate.
The report, ‘Facebook Says Its Rules Apply to All. Company Documents Reveal a Secret Elite That’s Exempt,’ mentioned a program called XCheck- or cross check- which allowed prominent users to break the platform’s rules. As of last year, there were 5.8 million Facebook users covered by XCheck.
If a VIP is believed to have violated the rules, their posts aren’t removed immediately but are instead sent to a separate system staffed by better-trained employees who then further review the content.
‘What they’re doing here is they’re identifying the people who they know to be driving the most eyeballs to their platform and henceforth driving them the most money and they’re giving them a pass to say, ‘Hey, you know what, what you’re doing is not right according to our rules, but you’re making us a lot of money and you have the potential to make us a lot more money. So we’re going to let it slide, but just let you know this wasn’t right,’ Toscano said. ‘It doesn’t shock me at all.’
Although the report has been met with public upset, Toscano doesn’t think Facebook will change without pressure from the government. Who is Joe Toscano?
Joe Toscano is an outspoken critic of big tech companies and appeared in the bombshell documentary The […]