Barbara Ortutai and Calvin Chan | Associated Press
Amid posts from the Facebook Papers confirming claims that the social network values financial success over user safety, Facebook on Monday reported higher earnings for the last quarter.
The latest demonstration of the company’s financial strength followed an avalanche of posts in the Facebook Papers – a massive amount of edited internal documents obtained by a consortium of news organizations including the Associated Press – as well as a statement on Monday by Facebook claimant Frances Haugen to British lawmakers.
Facebook said its net profit rose 17% between July and September to $ 9.19 billion, boosted by strong ad revenues. This is up from $ 7.85 billion a year earlier. Revenue rose 35% to $ 29.01 billion. The results exceeded analysts’ expectations for Facebook’s results.
The company’s shares rose 2.5% after the close of the day, up 1%.
“At this point, Facebook’s revenue picture looks as good as you would expect,” said eMarketer analyst Debra Aho Williamson. But she predicted other revelations and described the results as “disturbing and unpleasant.”
CEO Mark Zuckerberg only briefly mentioned what he called “the recent debate around our company.” While largely echoing the statements he made following Haugen’s October 5 testimony before the US Senate Subcommittee, he insisted he welcomed “bona fide criticism” but considered the current storm a “coordinated effort” by news organizations to criticize the company based on the leaked documents.
Meanwhile, Haugen told a British parliamentary committee on Monday that the social media giant incites hatred and extremism on the Internet, fails to protect children from harmful content, and has no incentive to tackle problems, fueling efforts by European governments to tackle stricter technology regulation. … companies.
While her testimony echoed what she told the US Senate this month, her personal presence sparked a lot of interest from the British parliamentary committee, which made significant headway in drafting legislation to curb the power of social media companies.
Haugen told a committee of UK legislators that Facebook groups are fueling hate online, saying algorithms that prioritize interactions take people with core interests and push them to extremes. A former Facebook analyst said the company could add moderators to prevent oversized groups from being used to spread extremist views.
“Surely it aggravates the hatred,” she said.
Haugen said she was “shocked to hear recently that Facebook wants to double down on the metaverse and that they are going to hire 10,000 engineers in Europe to work on the metaverse,” Haugen said, referring to the company’s plans to create an immersive online world. … believes it will be the next big internet trend.
“I thought, ‘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 is glad the UK is leading the way.
“While we have rules against malicious content and we regularly publish transparency reports, we agree that we need industry-wide regulation so that companies like ours don’t make these decisions on their own,” he said. on Facebook Monday.
It cites a $ 13 billion investment in security since 2016 and claims that this has “nearly halved” hate speech over the past three quarters.
Haugen blamed Facebook-owned Instagram for failing to keep children under 13 – the minimum age for a user – from opening accounts, saying he was not doing enough to protect children from content that, for example, makes them feel bad about their bodies.
“Facebook’s own research describes it as a drug addict’s story. Children say, “It upsets me, I feel like I have no control over its use, and I feel like if I left I would be ostracized,” she said.
Last month, the company shelved plans to release a child version of Instagram aimed at children under 13 to address vulnerabilities for younger users. Haugen said she worries that making Instagram safe for a 14-year-old may not be possible, and that “I sincerely doubt it is possible to make Instagram safe for a 10-year-old.”
She also said that Facebook’s moderation systems are worse at picking up content in languages other than English, which is a problem even in the UK because it is a diverse country.
“These people also live in the UK and feed on dangerous misinformation that is radicalizing people,” Haugen said. “Thus, language-based lighting is not just a boon for the people, it is a matter of national security.”
When asked if she believes Facebook is evil, Haugen objected and said, “I can’t look into the hearts of men.” She suggested that Facebook is not evil, but negligence.
“He believes in a world of flatness and does not accept the consequences of his actions,” pointing to the giant, single-level open-plan corporate office as the embodiment of philosophy.
It was Haugen’s second appearance in front of lawmakers after testifying in the US about the dangers she said the company poses, from harming children to inciting political violence and fomenting disinformation. Haugen cited internal research documents that she secretly copied before quitting her job at Facebook’s civil integrity department.
Documents that Haugen submitted to the US Securities and Exchange Commission allege that Facebook prioritizes profit over security and hides its own research from investors and the public. Some of the file-based stories have already been posted, showcasing the internal unrest after Facebook was stunned by the January 6 Capitol riot, and how it questioned India’s containment of controversial content. More to come.
Representatives from Facebook and other social networks are scheduled to speak to the UK committee on Thursday.
UK lawmakers are drafting an Internet Safety Bill calling for a regulatory body that will hold companies accountable when it comes to removing malicious or illegal content from their platforms, such as terrorist content or child sexual abuse images.
Haugen is due to meet with European Union officials in Brussels next month, where the bloc’s executive committee is updating its digital rulebook to better protect internet users, making online companies more liable for illegal or dangerous content.
Under UK regulations expected to take effect next year, the Silicon Valley giants face a final fine of up to 10% of their global income for any violations. The EU offers a similar penalty.
See the Complete Facebook Docs overview here: https://apnews.com/hub/the-facebook-papers