Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen Confronts Mark Zuckerberg About Child Safety

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Haugen will call out Meta for radically underestimating safety incidents on the platform

CUPERTINO, Calif., May 29, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Today, former Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, with the support of Heat Initiative and Proxy Impact, joined Meta’s annual shareholder meeting to ask the Board for an annual Child Safety report that includes quantitative user-experience metrics to assess whether Meta is adequately reducing harm to children on its platforms.

This meeting was the first time Frances Haugen and Mark Zuckerberg were in a virtual room together, since she disclosed tens of thousands of Facebook’s internal documents in 2021.

Her comments from today’s shareholder meeting are below:

I am Frances Haugen from Beyond the Screen, and I move Proposal #11 filed by Proxy Impact, the Lisette Cooper Trust and members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility.

The proposal asks the Board for an annual Child Safety report that includes quantitative user-experience metrics to assess whether Meta is adequately reducing harm to children on its platforms.

This reporting is urgently needed. Two weeks ago, the EU began investigating Meta for failing to reduce physical and mental health risks to young users. In the US, law enforcement and child safety experts warn that Meta’s expanding end-to-end encryption without new safety features will hide millions of incidents of child sexual abuse.

Mr Zuckerberg, on January 31st, 2024, you stood in a Senate hearing room, before bereaved parents who lost their children to harms of social media and said:

“I’m sorry for everything you have all been through. No one should go through the things that your families have suffered.”

Today we ask that if you meant this apology, commit to releasing metrics that show the world the progress you’re making to live up to it.

In two years working at Meta, I saw firsthand how Meta executes most effectively when guided by metrics. Metrics drive progress on the priorities that matter and decrease political infighting.

Forty-three states are accusing Meta of intentionally lying to the public about harms to children from their products. Their legal filings repeatedly detail how which public metrics Meta chooses to report drove trade-offs by employees between profits and the safety and wellbeing of children.

Today, Meta reports a handful of “core” business metrics; none cover what children report as their experiences of safety on the platform. To make progress, metrics need to be expanded to quantify the magnitude of harms to children and whether Meta is exerting effort to drive down those harms.

Progress is urgently needed. In 2021, Meta’s own data estimated that each day, 100,000 children faced sexual harassment on its platforms. Weekly, one in eight girls under the age of 16 reported experiencing unwanted sexual advances on Instagram.

Until Meta reports these numbers next to their quarterly profit and loss, these staggering statistics will not improve.

Safety is essential to growing and retaining users – expanding Meta’s public metrics captures growth today and in the future, and will reassure legislators, advertisers, shareholders, parents and users that Meta is taking effective action to protect children.

Meta’s advancing transparency will change the social media industry by setting the standard for reporting meaningful metrics for your peers.

This is your chance to live up to your promise to parents who have already lost so much and build a better and more successful company for all our children, including your own – now and in the future. Thank you.

The Heat Initiative is a collective effort of concerned child safety experts and advocates encouraging leading technology companies to detect and eradicate child sexual abuse images and videos on their platforms.

Contact: press@heatinitiative.org

Cision View original content:https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/facebook-whistleblower-frances-haugen-confronts-mark-zuckerberg-about-child-safety-302158459.html

SOURCE Heat Initiative


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