Following Facebook’s questioning and public shaming as blames subsequently heaped upon it for causing hatred through posts unchecked, it looks like the noose has been tightened on social media as certain popular social media apps, such as TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube have been shortlisted and US Senators have thrown thorny questions at them, for matters concerning safety to youngest of users.
This Monday, i.e. Oct 25, a question session occurred that lasted for four hours and those representing social media apps appeared to be on back-foot and distanced their algos from that of Facebook, which has been put to scrutiny from politicians in a handful of days recently.
But senators are hailed for a series of fabulous statements they created, “Being different from Facebook is not a defence.
“That bar is in the gutter. It’s not a defence to say that you are different.”
While initially, Senator Richard Bluementhal said, “We’re hearing the same stories of harm.
“The problem is clear – big tech preys on children and teens to make more money.
“Everything you do is to add users, especially kids, and keep them on your apps.
“This is for big tech a big tobacco moment.
“It is a moment of reckoning.
“There will be accountability – this time is different.”
Facebook has been brought to book on account of causing harm to the mental health of children and has been asked repeatedly for some time for regulation. But from the Snapchat side, thumping assurance was made that it doesn’t share a similar category.
Jennnifer Stout, who sits in the chair of vice-president, global-public-policy at Snapchat, voiced her concerns as “Snapchat was built as an antidote to social media we describe ourselves as a camera company.”
From TikTok side, its public-policy head Michael Beckerman, clarified in its defence, “TikTok is not a social network based on followers. You watch TikToks, you create them.”
Albeit there are accusations that its algorithm is unchecked for the harm, that its material causes to youngsters, especially the weight-loss, weight-gain videos and ghastly pranks.
The hearing adheres to Frances Haugen’s documents that are published by Wall Street Journal and she is a Facebook whistleblower who has held the parent company all accountable for contempt that Facebook posts cause and about the “toxic” fallout Instagram has had on young girls who are still in their teen years.
Ms Frances referenced the research carried out by Facebook itself which described the issue as “an addict’s narrative” as children were unable to discontinue their use of the app despite being unhappy. But the boss Zuckerberg assured the world about the efforts made to check troublesome content. \
He posted a letter on his Facebook page which said, “We care deeply about issues like safety, wellbeing and mental health. It’s difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives.”
As for misinformation and censorship, senators harbour great concerns and a lot of minds argue in favour of revising Section 230 with which social networks remain protected from any legal obligations and from being sued.
It was initially seen as a method of shielding internet providers such as BT and Comcast, but now even the mega-sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube find shelter under this since every post becomes hard to be scanned before such are published.
Whatsoever, scores of US politicians opine that the legislation ought to be reconsidered because of modern times marked with rampant social networks.
In just a quarter that passed with September end, Facebook highlighted a profit of $9billion which is up from $7.8 billion of last year. Still, the privacy update released by iOS 14 O/S eclipsed its earnings as targeting a specific user-base for brand awareness was made tough.
Then, there is a saga of Frances Haugen too, who is a former employee accusing Facebook to regard for profit more than the user(s) (or public) safety and she has a cache of in-house documents to support her stand.
There is a multitude of reports circulated in media indicating Facebook’s wilful moderation of content that aimed at hate and sex trafficking outside the US.
On Monday, as the hearing went on, Zuckerberg also had a conference call with investors addressing, “What we are seeing is a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company.”
During the past 12 months, Facebook has been boastful of its growing user-base, which went up by 6% which falls to around 2.91 billion in number.
Profits Get A Curveball By Apple:
But despite registering rich profit gains, revenue is not at par with analyst expectations and marketers have had a tough time due to the privacy rules unrolled by Apple.
Facebook claims that the new privacy guideline would hamper its business in the final quarter of this year but it is hopeful of accommodating such modifications in time.
This year, the firm intends to shell out $10 billion on its metaverse division which is also referred to as Facebook Reality Labs and accomplishes the task of building hardware concerning augmented and virtual reality, software and related content.
A host of lawmakers and regulators interrogate this biggest social media giant which also includes Federal Trade Commission, as it submitted an antitrust lawsuit on allegations concerning anti-competitive practices.
The documents released by Ms Frances Haugen (whistleblower) that initially highlighted by Wall Street Journal, have only augmented such familiar pressure with familiar passion.
Such include in-house research related to assessing the impact of Instagram on teenagers’ minds if Facebook posts encouraged division and the role social media giant played in managing the Capitol riots of January 6.
Ms Haugen apprised the UK MPs, on Monday hearing, about the role of Facebook, as “unquestionably making hate worse”.
She complained about inadequate safety crews at Facebook Inc and also “Facebook has been unwilling to accept even little slivers of profit being sacrificed for safety”.
Now, an Online Safety Bill is thought about, under which, new rules are likely to be imposed upon Facebook as MPs brainstorm such new rules and guidelines. But Zuckerberg replied through a conference call, stating, “Good faith criticism helps us get better, but my view is that we are seeing a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company.
“The reality is that we have an open culture that encourages discussion and research on our work so we can make progress on many complex issues that are not specific to just us.
Whatsoever, but these allegations aside, Facebook shares saw an increase by 1.3% on Monday, in the after-hours trading, skyrocketing firm’s stock by 20% by now, in this year alone.