Facebook Whistleblower: Elon Musk should publish Twitter's algorithm

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen advises Elon Musk to publish Twitter’s algorithm and says social media is AFRAID of government intervention because accountability would mean a 20% drop in profit margins

  • Facebook whistleblower says Elon Musk should publish Twitter’s algorithm
  • Claims social media doesn’t want transparency because it will affect profitability
  • Frances Haugen, who worked for Facebook before blowing the whistle, said government intervention could decrease Facebook profits from 35% to 15% 

The woman who disclosed Facebook malpractice last year is advising Elon Musk to make Twitter’s algorithm public if he truly wants to have an open online public square.

Frances Haugen also said that social media sites push back so ferociously on government intervention because accountability could mean that profit margins see a sharp decrease by at least 20 percent.

The former product manager on Facebook’s civic integrity team joined a special edition of NBC’s Meet the Press focused on ‘how social media is shaping our politics’ on Sunday morning. Haugen is particularly poised to speak on the topic after blowing the whistle on what she described as a pattern of Facebook prioritizing profit over public safety.

She disclosed tens of thousands of internal Facebook documents to the Securities and Exchange Commission and The Wall Street Journal in 2021.

‘One of the most important things Elon Musk could do to prove that he wants to have the public square is he could publish the algorithms,’ Haugen said.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said that the social media company is afraid of government intervention because it could decrease their profits by 20%

‘Open source it,’ she insisted to NBC’s Chuck Todd. ‘He’d have more help. It’d be cheaper for him. He’d be more profitable.’

Democratic Senator Amy Klonuchar, who has long called for more regulation on tech companies, said these platforms need to be treated like ‘publishers’.

‘Let’s just start facing the facts and stop pretending they’re some little company in a garage,’ she told Todd during the special Sunday Meet the Press airing.

Haugen said that companies like Facebook become so concerned with growth and turning an even larger profit, that it makes them ‘afraid’ to take any actions ‘because they will decrease the profitability of a company by a little bit.’

‘Facebook is scared that if we actually had transparency, if we actually had accountability, they would not be a company with 35 percent profit margins. They’d be a company with 15 percent profit margins,’ she continued.

Haugen advised that Elon Musk (pictured on February 10, 2022) should make the Twitter algorithm public if he wants to create an open online public square

‘The way to think about safety on social media platforms is there’s lots of very small choices where you make them and you lose .1 percent of profit, .2 percent of profit,’ Haugen said. ‘The problem is, these industries are so sensitive to growth that when they don’t grow at the level that the market expects, their stock price crashes. And so they’re afraid to take even these small actions. Because they will decrease the profitability of a company by a little bit.’

The day that Musk acquired Twitter in October 2022, he released a memo explaining that he purchased the social media platform to promote the opportunity for dialogue, which he claimed was ‘lost’.

Musk felt that social media in its current state ‘fueled and catered’ to ‘polarized extremes’ with the ‘relentless’ pursuit of garnering clicks and views to generate more revenue.

Haugen says if Musk wants to change the tide, he needs to lead the charge on transparency – and that starts with sharing the ever-elusive algorithm.

Haugen says the more transparent that tech companies are forced to become, the lower their stock plunges.

‘Over the course of five years before the Facebook disclosures began to become public, Facebook stock only declined versus the Nasdaq by more than 5 percent about 25 times – 27 times,’ she explained.

‘Overwhelmingly those events when stock price declined were when something came out that demonstrated Facebook was going to have to spend more money on safety,’ Haugen added.

Haugen started in September 2021 releasing troves of internal Facebook communications that examined how the company created exemptions for famous users, impacted youth users, handled vaccine misinformation and responded to human trafficking and drug cartels on the platform.

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