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More hate speech, misinformation possible if algorithms are removed, Facebook VP says

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Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said on Sunday that people would encounter more hate speech and misinformation if algorithms ranking content were removed from the social media platform.

Clegg said on ABC’s “This Week” that one of the recommendations he had received from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen and her team was to remove algorithms that help rank content.

“If you were just sort of, across the board, remove the algorithm, the first thing that would happen is that people would see more, not less hate speech. More, not less misinformation. More, not less harmful content,” the Facebook executive told host George Stephanopoulos.

“Why? Because those algorithmic systems precisely are designed like a great sort of giant spam filter to identify and deprecate and downgrade bad content.” 

Clegg’s comments come after Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, gave testimony during a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing last week. She accused her former employer of not adequately policing content on its site and alleged that the company could not sufficiently address concerns because they were “understaffed.” 

Haugen also leaked documents to The Wall Street Journal that included revelations over the social media platform’s handling on a multitude of issues. She alleged that Facebook did not adequately address anti-COVID-19 rhetoric, knew Instagram was harmful to younger users and was not doing enough to combat drug cartels and human traffickers who were using the site – revelations that Clegg immediately pushed back on in a blog post following the series’ publication.

Following the testimony, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also pushed back at Facebook’s recent coverage in a post on the social media site.

“We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health. It’s difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives. At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted,” Zuckerberg said on Facebook.

Tags Facebook Frances Haugen George Stephanopoulos Mark Zuckerberg Mark Zuckerberg Nick Clegg Sunday shows
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