Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has defended himself against the criticism of whistleblower Frances Haugen in a long message on his Facebook account. ‘The idea that profit takes precedence over safety and well-being is central to the allegations. That’s just not true.’
Zuckerberg says, among other things, that it is a reality that young children use technology. ‘Think of the many school children with a smartphone. Instead of ignoring this, tech companies should build experiences that meet their needs while remaining secure.”
Haugen, a former product manager at Facebook, testified in the US Congress on Tuesday about Facebook’s practices to, for example, attract young users and continuously increase their consumption of Instagram, among others. As a result, the senators on the Commerce committee promised to regulate Facebook more strictly afterwards.
“We still have time to act. But we have to do it now,” Haugen, an engineer who left Facebook after two years last May, urged members of the Senate committee. ‘Facebook should not choose growth (…) at the expense of public safety. (…) They sacrifice our security for their profits.’ She based her two years at the company and thousands of documents she brought with her last spring to back up her allegations.
The 37-year-old computer scientist’s hearing came after a massive outage, unprecedented in Facebook’s history, shutting down Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.
A Facebook spokesperson previously responded on Twitter by pointing out that Haugen “had not worked on child protection at Facebook or Instagram (…) and has no direct knowledge of those topics from her work at Facebook.”