Leaking a trove of inside paperwork that, amongst different issues, revealed that Facebook want to “leverage” your youngster’s playdate for extra clicks, whistleblower Frances Haugen dropped the newest public relations nightmare onto Mark Zuckerberg’s lap.
But whereas Haugen might need recognized the issue, she doesn’t have the treatment.
We knew that social media’s algorithms can devastate the psychological well being of youngsters. Haugen’s doc launch reveals that Facebook is aware of it, too. We additionally know that legal parts routinely use Facebook and its properties to visitors each medicine and youngsters, one thing else the paperwork clarify.
At her listening to on Tuesday, Haugen used her platform to not name for breaking Facebook up, however seemingly to entrench the platform beneath a regime of federal oversight. At one level she prompt the necessity for a federal regulatory physique to supervise Facebook and different platforms. This is, clearly, an overt name for presidency regulation of speech beneath the guise of “safety.”
So ought to Congress care? About Frances Haugen’s options, no. Whatever her motivations, she is a transparent partisan whose options to the quite a few issues plaguing social media resolve nothing. They merely entrench the speech controls and market dominance of the prevailing platforms.
But the paperwork Haugen has produced are devastating, and present that slightly a brand new regulatory framework the federal government should implement the prevailing legal guidelines.
Haugen’s launch makes clear that Facebook continues to mine the intimate particulars of youngsters’s lives — doubtlessly breaches of information privateness legal guidelines of which Facebook is a repeat offender.
In 2019, the Federal Trade Commission slapped the corporate with a record-breaking $5 billion tremendous, and a promise to do higher. Facebook shrugged off the motion as the price of doing enterprise (and so did Wall Street; the corporate’s inventory worth rose in response) and went on its manner. Given this details about Facebook’s inside workings, maybe it’s time for the FTC to revisit the corporate’s information practices round kids.
Facebook additionally seems to be deceptive traders and advertisers about their attain within the promoting area. Facebook operates one of many greatest — and most profitable — digital promoting companies on this planet.
If they’re mendacity to traders, the Securities and Exchange Commission should look into it.
Congressional Democrats and the company press are specializing in Haugen as an “American hero,” however Haugen will not be the protagonist of this story. Facebook is. And Haugen advised them what’s already painfully clear: coverage issues proliferate on these platforms.
Market energy distortions, privateness violations, and a largely lawless enterprise mannequin premised on surveillance capitalism have to be remedied.
The reply will not be new controls, new companies, or extra hearings. It’s time for presidency enforcement companies to behave.
Rachel Bovard is the senior director of coverage on the Conservative Partnership Institute and the senior tech columnist for The Federalist.