Facebook does not prioritise its profits over user safety and well-being, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said in a socal media post on Tuesday after a former employee came forward as a whistle-blower and testified in a Congressional hearing about the company’s practices and policies.
“At the heart of these accusations is this idea that we prioritise profit over safety and well-being. That’s just not true,” Mr Zuckerberg said.
“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 recognise the false picture of the company that is being painted.”
On September 13, The Wall Street Journal began publishing stories based on a cache of internal documents, revealing that Facebook knew about numerous problems with its products – including Instagram’s harm to teenage girls’ mental health and misinformation about the January 6 Capitol riots – while playing down concerns in public.
Facebook algorithms reward posts with high levels of user engagement, often resulting in the platform pushing harmful content to users, the whistle-blower Frances Haugen testified on Tuesday.
She provided Facebook documents to the US Congress and The Wall Street Journal, which reported the social media company contributed to increased polarisation online when it made changes to its content algorithm and failed to take steps to reduce vaccine hesitancy.