New whistleblower alleges Facebook put profits over curtailing harmful content: report

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A new whistleblower has submitted an affidavit alleging that Facebook prioritized profits over mitigating dangerous or hateful content on its platform, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The allegations were shared with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which oversees publicly traded companies like Facebook.

The new whistleblower is reportedly a former member of the platform’s Integrity team.

The affidavit claims that the company did not prioritize and even undermined efforts to tackle misinformation, hate speech and other problematic content.

The Post’s story also states that Facebook communications official Tucker Bounds allegedly said the controversy surrounding interference in the 2016 presidential election would be “a flash in the pan.” 

“Some legislators will get pissy,” he continued, per the whistleblower. “And then in a few weeks they will move onto something else. Meanwhile we are printing money in the basement, and we are fine.”

Facebook spokesperson Erin McPike called the story “beneath the Washington Post, which during the last five years would only report stories after deep reporting with corroborating sources.”

The whistleblower also reportedly alleges that Facebook’s Public Policy team, led by former Bush administration official Joel Kaplan, ran a whitelist for publishers including the rightwing Breitbart News that exempted them from platform policy against spreading misinformation.

Kaplan denied the existence of any such list in a statement to The Hill.

The new whistleblower is filing their affidavit just weeks after Frances Haugen came forward before news media and Congress alleging that Instagram, owned by Facebook, posed health concerns for children. 

Sophie Zhang, a former data scientist at the company, alleged in April that the platform was knowingly ignoring interference in foreign elections. Zhang testified before British Parliament earlier this week.

Tags Facebook foreign interference Instagram misinformation Social media

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