An earnings report and whistleblower testimony Monday kicks off what is expected to be a busy week for Facebook. According to Axios, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs warned staffers over the weekend about the increasingly bumpy road ahead.
“We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I’m afraid,” Nick Clegg said in a post to staffers Saturday.
The busy week got underway as Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen appeared before a parliamentary committee tasked with scrutinizing the British government’s draft legislation to crack down on harmful online content. Haugen told lawmakers the company is making online hate and extremism worse.
“Facebook never set out to prioritise polarising, divisive content,” Haugen said. “It just happened to be a side effect of choices they did make.”
This is the second time Haugen has testified about the danger she claims Facebook poses, after testifying in front of the U.S. Senate earlier this month. On Monday, Haugen laid out how the company could improve online safety.
“The reality is it doesn’t matter if Facebook is spending 14 billion dollars on safety a year, if they should be spending 25 billion or 35 billion, that’s the real question,” Haugen said. “Right now, there’s no incentives internally that if you make noise saying we need more help, like people will not, you will not get rallied around for help because everyone is under water.”
Haugen’s testimony came just hours ahead of the company releasing its first quarterly earnings report since Haugen first testified. It also came as more new leaks are exposing the inner workings of Facebook. The so-called “Facebook papers” project represents a unique collaboration among 17 American news organizations to gain access to thousands of pages of internal company documents obtained by Haugen.
According to The Wall Street Journal, internal chats at Facebook show a company wrestling with its role in election misinformation as well as the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. The Associated Press reported on how Facebook’s language gap weakens screenings of hate and terrorism around the world. And The Verge showed the company is losing younger users at rapid rates.