Philippine campaign journalist Maria Ressa, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week, launched a stinging attack on Facebook, accusing the social media company of being a threat to democracy that was “biased against facts “and could not prevent the spread of misinformation.
He said his algorithms “prioritize the spread of lies mixed with anger and hatred over facts.”
Ressa, co-founder of the news website Rappler, won the Nobel Prize on Friday for her work to “safeguard freedom of expression,” along with Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov.
Ressa said that Facebook had become the world’s largest news distributor, “yet it is biased against the facts, it is against journalism… If you don’t have facts, you can’t have truths, you can’t have confidence. If you don’t have any of these, you don’t have democracy. “
Ressa’s reprimand came days after former employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen claimed the company placed profits on people. UK politicians are also expressing concern about Facebook’s ability to protect children from harmful content, with a senior Conservative MP accusing it of implementing a “ridiculous browser recognition system” to verify the age of its users. users.
Now there are calls to action between Facebook parties and the government in the wake of Haugen’s explosive testimony, in which he accused the company of targeting young users towards harmful content. He also suggested that the minimum age for social media accounts should be increased from 13 to 17.
Julian Knight, conservative chair of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, asked Facebook to show that it was capable of enforcing even its existing rules. “It’s less about the minimum age, more about the way social media companies handle this today,” he said. “They rely on a ridiculous scout recognition system when in fact we need them to actively seek a proper, regulated and robust age guarantee. They took responsibility for a long time. “
Other parties also called on the government to step in and strengthen measures in its online harm bill, which is designed to protect children from dangerous content. The NSPCC is among those who say that current plans do not go far enough. The ministers insist he will force social media companies to remove and limit the spread of harmful content or face billions of pounds of fines.
Jo Stevens, the shadow culture secretary, said Facebook had proven “time and time again” that it could not be trusted and that now the government needed to intervene. “It has fully adhered to its internal strategy of ‘move fast and break things’ no matter the cost, as long as it doesn’t affect its bottom line,” he said.
“Four years after the Conservative government’s promise of tough legislation against online harm, all we have is a weak and watered-down bill that will still allow Facebook to self-regulate. No matter what age limits are adopted, Facebook cannot be trusted to put public safety before its profits. “
Ed Davey, the Lib Dem leader, called for schools to teach children about how to use social media safely and responsibly.
the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports said: “Our pioneering online safety bill will make the Internet the safest and most comprehensive place in the world for the protection of children. It will require Internet companies to enforce age limits so that underage children cannot access pornography or content that is harmful to them, such as promoting self-harm and eating disorders. “
Facebook denied that the company put profits above people and said it was using sophisticated methods to remove children who are not old enough to have an account. “Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits,” he said. “To say we turn a blind eye to comments ignores these investments, including the 40,000 security and safety workers at Facebook and our $ 13 billion investment since 2016.
“We use artificial intelligence and the age people provide when signing up to understand whether people are telling the truth about their age when using our platforms. On Instagram alone, these processes helped us remove more than 600,000 underage users between June and August of this year. We will continue to invest in new tools and work closely with our industry partners to make our systems as effective as possible. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism