Frances Haugen, a former data scientist for Facebook, testified to Congress on Oct. 5 about the tech giant’s negligence of acknowledging its societal harms, particularly to children.
Haugen confirmed to Sen. Ed Markey, D-MA, that the company does actively market to children, promoting Instagram to those under age 18 and targeting Messenger Kids to children as young as 8.
“I do believe Congress must act to protect children,” Haugen said, stating Facebook has focused on scale over safety. She said the company likely is using artificial intelligence to identify harmful ads without allowing public oversight to see if those systems are even effective.
Markey was critical of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, saying: “Your time of invading our privacy, promoting toxic content and preying on children and teens is over,” adding “Congress will be taking action. You can work with us or not work with us.”
Markey called Haugen a “21st-century American hero” for warning country of dangers to its young people and democracy.
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