Facebook can 'broadly' accept regulators having access to algorithms, says executive

Facebook can 'broadly' accept regulators having access to algorithms, says executive
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A top Facebook executive on Sunday said the company could "broadly" allow regulators to access the social media platform's algorithms. 

"Broadly, the answer is yes," said Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president for global affairs and communications, during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union" with Dana BashDana BashThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - White House tackles how to vaccinate children ages 5+ Manchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 MORE.

Facebook is under pressure over whether its algorithm amplifies dangerous content after a whistleblower claimed it knowingly pushes such content to users, an allegation the company rejects. 

"We need greater transparency," Clegg told Bash. "They should be held to account, if necessary by regulation, so that people can match what our systems say they're supposed to do and what actually happens." 

Clegg also noted the inherent limitations of intervening on social media, saying, "you can't design regulation that intervenes in real time and in the way that human beings interact every millisecond of the day."

In a sign of the new pressure on Facebook, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGOP blocks Senate Democrats' revised elections bill Progressives push back on decision to shrink Biden's paid family leave program The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Altria - Biden holds meetings to resurrect his spending plan MORE (D-Minn.), who also appeared on "State of the Union," reiterated her belief that the company should be held responsible for the content it amplifies on its platform. 

"I believe the time for conversation is done. The time for action is now," the senator said. 

"That's why I have a bill to, at least with misinformation from vaccines, to say, 'you are responsible if you're amplifying this and putting it out there'," Klobuchar added. 

Klobuchar's criticism follows former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen's testimony before a Senate panel last week. H

Moving forward, Clegg said Facebook has paused work on an Instagram Kid's project in addition to working on new controls for parents of teenagers, encouraging younger users to take breaks from social media and nudging teen's to look at different posts if the platform recognizes they routinely return to potentially harmful content. 

The media executive noted that the internal reports showed that most young users had a positive experience on the platform. 

"For the overwhelming majority of teenagers, actually using Instagram is a positive experience even when they're suffering from sleeplessness, anxiety, depression and so on," Clegg said. "It either makes no difference what actually makes them feel better." 

Updated 5:03 p.m.