As the UK examines Facebook, Whistleblower Haugen will testify

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook data scientist and whistleblower, will answer questions from UK lawmakers Monday. She is currently working on legislation to limit the power of social media firms.

As the UK examines Facebook, Whistleblower Haugen will testify

Haugen will appear before a committee that examines the draft legislation of the British government to crackdown on harmful online content. Her comments could be helpful to lawmakers. On the same day as Facebook's latest earnings are due, Haugen will testify before a parliamentary committee. Her comments could help lawmakers strengthen new rules.

After her testimony in the U.S. Senate earlier in the month, Haugen will make it her second appearance before the lawmakers. She testified about the danger the company presents to children and inciting violence and misinformation. Haugen referenced internal research documents that she secretly copied prior to leaving her job at Facebook's civic integrity division.

According to documents Haugen gave to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (USSEC), Facebook allegedly prioritised safety over profits and concealed its research from investors and the general public. Some stories have been published based on the files. They expose internal turmoil following Facebook's Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol Riot and its diversion over curbing divisive content.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, has refuted Haugen's depiction of the company as one that values profit more than the well-being its users. He also said that the company pushes divisive material. He does however agree with the need to update internet regulations. It is best for lawmakers to evaluate the tradeoffs.

Haugen stated to U.S. lawmakers she believes a federal regulator is necessary to supervise digital giants such as Facebook. This is something officials in Britain, the European Union and elsewhere are already working on.

Online safety legislation in the United Kingdom calls for a regulator to hold companies accountable when it comes time to remove harmful or illegal content from their platforms. This includes terrorist material and child sex abuse photos.

Damian Collins, the lawmaker in charge of the committee, stated that "This is quite an important moment." "This is a moment. It's kind of like Cambridge Analytica but maybe bigger because I believe it gives a window into the souls of these companies."

Collins was referring specifically to the 2018 scandal involving Cambridge Analytica data-mining firm, which gathered information on up to 87 million Facebook users without their consent.

Representatives from Facebook, and other social media companies, will speak to the committee on Thursday.

Haugen met Molly Russell's father, who was 14 years old when she killed herself after seeing disturbing content on her Facebook-owned Instagram. In a conversation filmed by BBC, Ian Russell explained to Haugen how Molly's family discovered notes she had written about her addiction to Instagram after Molly's passing.

Haugen will also meet with officials from the European Union in Brussels next month. The bloc's executive committee is updating its digital rulesbook to better protect internet users. It is holding online companies more accountable for dangerous or illegal content.

The U.K. rules will take effect next year and Silicon Valley giants could face a maximum penalty of 10% of their global revenues for violating them. Similar penalties are being proposed by the EU.

The U.K. committee hopes to hear more about Haugen's data collection. Collins stated that the Haugen internal files have been turned over to the U.S. authorities and are crucial because they show the type of information Facebook has -- and what regulators should ask when investigating these companies.

Sophie Zhang, another Facebook whistleblower who raised concerns after discovering evidence of online manipulation in Honduras, Azerbaijan, and other countries, has been heard by the committee.

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