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Senator Richard Blumenthal has begun the hearing with opening remarks, revealing that Facebook Hogan made it public and criticized the company for making a profit more than anything else.
He noted one of the biggest bombshells in the documents – Facebook knew its products were harming teenagers and used algorithms to “increase their vulnerability”.
He said, “Their profit was more important than the pain.
Blumenthal showed parallels between Facebook and Big Tobacco – a comparison made by several senators against the backdrop of Hogan’s whistleblowing. He said that Big Tech is facing its “Big Tobacco Moment”.
He said, “Facebook knows that its products can be addictive and toxic to children, and it’s not just that they make money – they value children and their families more than the pain they cause.”
He said, “The loss of self-esteem inflicted by Facebook today will hurt a generation.” “Feelings of inadequacy and insecurity and rejection and self-loathing will affect this generation for years to come.”
Hogan said that changing content policies for several weeks around the 2020 U.S. election proved that Facebook can do more to solve its problems.
At the time, she said, the company deliberately gave less priority to political content on its news feeds. But soon they went back to the old algorithms that valued commitment more than anything else.
“The documents you’ve revealed provide the company with a blueprint for improvement that makes specific recommendations that could make Facebook and Instagram more secure,” Blumenthal said.
“The company repeatedly ignored the recommendations of its own researchers,” Blumenthal said. “Facebook, as you said, boosts profits so powerfully and ignores the pain.”
He cited evidence from 52 state attorney generals as evidence of the need to hold Facebook accountable.
Blumenthal also mentioned the law he introduced with Sen. Ed Markey. It’s called the KIDS Act Will regulate Design of social platform for harm reduction.
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