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Critics Say Facebook Must be Investigated, Audited, Regulated, and Stopped

by Jessica Corbett via Common Dreams
As whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress, experts urged federal lawmakers and regulators to take on tech giants and work harder to protect civil and human rights online.
Photo by Teri Vershel, Please credit the photographer.
Photo of protest in front of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Palo Alto residence on October 17, 2021.

While newly revealed Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen appeared before a U.S. Senate panel on Tuesday morning, longtime critics of the social media behemoth elevated calls for legislative and regulatory action to break up Big Tech, outlaw tech giants' surveillance capitalist business model, and fight for a digital environment that respects rights and benefits democracy.

Haugen, a former Facebook employee, told senators the company's products "harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy," and that "congressional action is needed."

Her testimony followed a Wall Street Journal series, a televised interview revealing her identity, and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) complaints. It also came a day after Facebook and its other platforms—Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp—went down for hours, provoking fresh calls to break up the monopolistic company.

In a statement Tuesday about Haugen's remarks, the Real Facebook Oversight Board (RFOB)—a group of advocates and experts that formed in response to ongoing harms on the platform—declared that "this is Facebook's moment of reckoning" and demanded Congress act in response to the company profiting from enabling the spread dangerous lies and hateful content.

"We call for a full investigation into Facebook, including criminal inquiries if necessary for lying to shareholders, regulators, and the government," said RFOB. "We call for an independent, outside audit. And we call urgently for Facebook to have real oversight—independent oversight with transparency, integrity, and power. Facebook must be investigated, audited, regulated, and stopped."
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Fri, Nov 5, 2021 11:14PM
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