Facebook VP can’t give ‘yes or no answer’ on whether algorithms amplified insurrectionists’ voices
Facebook Vice President Nick Clegg said he couldn’t give a “yes or no answer” when asked on Sunday if the social media giant’s algorithm played a role in amplifying insurrectionist voices ahead of Jan. 6.
“Given we have thousands of algorithms and you have millions of people using this, I can’t give you a yes or no answer to the individual personalized feeds each person uses,” Clegg said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“The whole point, of course, of Facebook is that each person’s newsfeed is individual to them,” Chegg explained. “I can’t give a sort of generic answer to each person’s individual feeds. What I can say is that where we see content that we think is relevant to the investigations of law enforcement, of course we cooperate with them.”
Clegg reiterated that the blame for the insurrection fell on the shoulders of the people who stormed the U.S. Capitol building and those who encouraged them.
“We cooperate with law enforcement, of course, to give them content that might have shown up on our platform,” Clegg said on Sunday. “But let’s be clear of course Jan. 6, the responsibility for that is for the people who broke the law and inflicted the violence, who aided and abetted them, who encouraged them both in politics and in the media.”
Clegg’s comments regarding the social media giant’s role on Jan. 6 follow Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony before a Senate panel last week.
“Facebook should not get a free pass on choices it makes to prioritize growth and virality and reactiveness over public safety. They shouldn’t get a free pass on that because they’re paying for their profits right now with our safety,” Haugen told the panel.
Last month, Haugen released internal documents from Facebook to The Wall Street Journal highlighting the platform’s issues including its sometimes negative impact on young users.