Facebook is the subject of new criticism for its handling of a key program – Image: © AFP

Glenn CHAPMAN

Facebook announced more than $ 9 billion in quarterly profits on Monday, hours after a US media collective published a deluge of withered reports arguing that the company is prioritizing growth over personal safety.

The social media giant has been in the throes of yet another crisis since former employee Frances Haugen disclosed tons of internal studies showing executives were aware of the potential for harm from their sites, prompting the United States to redouble efforts for regulation.

Facebook released results showing that its profit in the last quarter reached $ 9.2 billion, an increase of 17%, and its user count rose to 2.91 billion.

Facebook executives said on a earnings call that the tech titan would have made even more money if Apple hadn’t updated its iPhone operating system to thwart advertisers who track down advertisers. app users for ad targeting without permission.

“Overall, without the changes Apple made to iOS 14, we would have experienced positive quarter-over-quarter revenue growth,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said of iPhone software adjustment made in the name of privacy protection.

Hours earlier, new reports blamed CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his platform bowing to state censors in Vietnam, noting that Facebook had allowed hate speech to flourish internationally due to language gaps and said he knew his algorithm was fueling toxic bias online.

“These damning documents underscore that Facebook management has chronically ignored serious internal alarms, choosing to put profits before people,” Big Tech critic Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.

News outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post and Wired were among those who have now had access to all of the internal Facebook documents that Haugen originally disclosed to US authorities and which were at the base from a damning Wall Street Journal series.

Facebook attacked the report as an effort to misrepresent the social network used by billions of people.

“Good faith reviews help us improve, but my point is that what we are seeing is a coordinated effort to selectively use leaked material to paint a false image of our business,” Zuckerberg said during ‘a call for results.

– Behind the curtain –

Haugen, who testified on social media to UK lawmakers on Monday, has repeatedly said the company places its continued growth, and therefore profits, before the well-being and safety of users.

“Facebook was unwilling to accept that even small bursts of profit were sacrificed for security, and that is not acceptable,” she told lawmakers, adding that angry or hate-fueled content “is the easiest way to grow” the social media platform.

Facebook has been hit by major crises before, but the current behind-the-curtain vision of island society has fueled a scathing reporting frenzy and renewed pressure from U.S. lawmakers to crack down on social media.

The Washington Post article published on Monday said that Zuckerberg had personally endorsed a push by the authoritarian government in Vietnam to limit the spread of so-called “anti-state” messages.

A Politico report called the documents “Washington’s anti-trust treasure” against the platform, revealing internal employee discussions about Facebook’s global dominance.

One of Monday’s reports, from The Verge website, delved into the company’s own concerns for its future.

“Teenage Facebook app users in the US had declined 13% since 2019 and are expected to drop 45% over the next two years, leading to an overall drop in daily users in the most lucrative ad market. of the company, ”the article said, citing the company’s internal research.


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