WHISTLEBLOWER SAYS FACEBOOK MAKES HATE WORSE
Facebook is “unquestionably making hate worse,” a Facebook whistleblower has told MPs.
Giving evidence to the Parliamentary Online Safety Bill committee, former Facebook manager Frances Haughen also said that inadequate resources had been given to safety teams to protect the experience of users.
Haughen said that Facebook wasn’t willing to reduce company profits to improve safety. She also raised concerns about the experience of younger people on Instagram.
“I am deeply worried that it may not be possible to make Instagram safe for a 14-year-old, and I sincerely doubt that it is possible to make it safe for a 10-year-old,” she told MPs.
The testimony comes as an anonymous whistleblower told US authorities that the company’s work to remove child abuse material from the platform was inadequate.
In documents seen by the BBC, the whistleblower said that staff involved in the removal of the harmful content are “not sufficiently trained and are ill prepared.”
“We have no tolerance for this abhorrent abuse of children and use sophisticated technologies to combat it,” Facebook told the BBC in a statement.
“We’ve funded and helped build the tools used by industry to investigate this terrible crime, rescue children and bring justice to victims.”
Facebook is not the only social media company to have attracted political scrutiny. Also, this week, representatives from Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube have faced questions from a US senate hearing on child safety.
They were told that the strategy of optimising the platform for continuous engagement was causing addiction to the site by younger users, and that “being different from Facebook is not a defence.”
“The problem is clear: big tech preys on children and teens to make more money,” Senator Ed Markey said at the hearing.
“Now is the time for the legislative solutions to these problems.”
OFCOM: BLOCK FOREIGN SCAM CALLS
Communications regulator Ofcom has confirmed an agreement with major mobile networks to block internet calls from abroad that pose as UK numbers.
The technology is regularly used by criminals as part of phone scam campaigns. An Ofcom investigation found that almost 45 million people have been contacted as part of the scams.
One operator, TalkTalk, have already operationalised the plans, while other networks say they are testing out how such a block would work in practice.
BRUSHING SCAM AFFECTS ONE MILLION HOUSEHOLDS
As many as a million households may be affected by a so-called ‘brushing’ scam, an investigation by Which? has found.
The scam involves sending unsolicited Amazon products to random addresses and using the delivery to record positive reviews for the sellers in a bid to artificially boost seller rankings on the site.
One victim of the scam told Which? she received 50 different unwanted parcels over a period of months and had searched for the recipient of the products believing she had been sent the goods in a case of mistaken identity.
Amazon say they are aware of the scam and encourage users to report any unwanted or suspicious parcels they receive as soon as possible.
FACEBOOK CHANGES NAME TO META
Facebook, the holding company behind social media platforms Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, will be changing its name to Meta, the company has announced.
Critics suggest the name change is an attempt by Facebook to divert attention from the recent criticism it received over the wellbeing of younger users of the platform.
Facebook say the name change reflects their desire to build a ‘metaverse’, a virtual reality social media platform, in the coming years.
The name change will not affect the names of existing platforms Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
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