Whistleblower: Facebook Said "Safeguards In Place Before The 2020 Election Implicated Free Speech" | Video | RealClearPolitics

Whistleblower: Facebook Said "Safeguards In Place Before The 2020 Election Implicated Free Speech"

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Facebook whistleblower and former product manager Frances Haugen admitted Tuesday during a Senate hearing that Facebook changed how "safeguards" on viral misinformation functioned before and after the 2020 election in a way that the company itself said, "implicated free speech."

She disagreed with the company's characterization that changes made to the platform during the election were a free speech issue.

"Facebook has been emphasizing a false choice. They said the safeguards in place before the election implicated free speech," she said. After the election they "returned to their original defaults" until January 6, when "safeguards" were put back in place.


FRANCES HAUGEN: Facebook has a long history of having a successful growth division where they take tiny tweaks and constantly and constantly are trying to optimize it to grow. Those kinds could be construed as things that facilitate addiction.

SEN AMY KLOBUCHAR: We have seen the same kind of content in the political world, you brought up other countries and what has been happening there.

On "60 Minutes," you said Facebook implemented safeguards to reduce misinformation ahead of the 2020 election, but turned off those safeguards right after the election.

You know that the insurrection happened on January 6. Do you think Facebook turned off the safeguards because they were costing the company money, because it was reducing profits?

HAUGEN: Facebook has been emphasizing a false choice. They said the safeguards in place before the election implicated free speech.

The choices that were happening on the platform were really about how reactive and twitchy was the platform, how viral was the platform?

And Facebook changed those safety defaults in the run up to the election because they knew they were dangerous. And because they wanted that growth back after the election, they returned to the original defaults.

The fact that they had to "break the glass" on January 6 and turn them back on, I think that is deeply problematic.
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