Mark Zuckerberg Should Leave Facebook, Says Frances Haugen | Facebook

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Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen made her strongest appeal yet for Mark Zuckerberg to step down as chief executive of his social media empire, saying the company would be better off with a leader which focuses on user safety.

Frances Haugen said Facebook’s parent company, renamed Meta last week, is unlikely to change if its founder remains in charge. Speaking at the Web Summit in Lisbon, the former Facebook employee, who leaked tens of thousands of internal documents detailing the company’s struggles with user safety and disinformation, also criticized the “senseless move Zuckerberg’s investment in his concept of metaverse instead of focusing on repair. its current problems.

When asked if Zuckerberg should step down, Haugen said: “I think Facebook will be stronger with someone who is willing to focus on security, so yes.”

However, Haugen acknowledged that Zuckerberg’s control over Meta was a problem for any independent shareholders who might want a change at the top. Zuckerberg controls decision-making within the company through his controlling stake in the voting shares of Meta, which makes his position unassailable.

“Mark owns 54% of the voting shares of Facebook. He is the chairman and the CEO and I think that at a minimum shareholders have the right to choose their CEO. And so I think the company is unlikely to change if he remains the CEO, ”Haugen said.

“And I hope he can see that there is so much good he could do in the world, and maybe it’s a chance for someone else to take the reins.”

Haugen also criticized the strategic shift behind the company’s surprise rebranding last week, with Zuckerberg committing the company to a major investment in the metaverse, a space where digital representations of people – avatars – interact at work and at gambling, meeting in their office, going to concerts and even trying on clothes.

Haugen said the documents she released to Congress, regulators and the press made it clear the company needed to spend more on basic security systems, not an expansion into virtual reality.

Documents released by Haugen revealed that Meta knew its Instagram photo-sharing app was accused of exacerbating adolescent mental health issues, as its own employees were dismayed at the failure to stem the misinformation that was spreading around the approach of the 6 January riot in Washington, and that Facebook was helping to fuel ethnic violence in Ethiopia.

“I think there is a meta-problem with Facebook is that Facebook over and over again chooses to expand into new areas rather than sticking to what they have already done and I find it unacceptable. that when you read the documents it very clearly states that there needs to be more resources on very basic security systems, ”she said.

Haugen added that his actions were driven by the belief that Facebook must change to save lives. “I sincerely believe that there are a million, or maybe 10 million lives at stake in the next 20 years, and compared to that, nothing really looks like a real consequence.”

Haugen’s appearance at the Web Summit follows his testimony in Congress and Westminster last month. In London, she told MPs and her peers that urgent external regulation is needed to control the management of the tech company. Haugen was speaking before a joint committee examining the Online Safety Bill, which imposes a duty of care on social media companies to protect users from harmful content. Meta’s apps, including Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, are used by 2.8 billion people daily.

Responding to Haugen’s comments, a spokesperson for Meta said, “The argument that we deliberately deliver content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical. We’re on track to spend over $ 5 billion on safety and security in 2021 – more than any other tech company – and we have 40,000 people to do a job: keeping people safe on our applications. “

The spokesperson added that Meta was able to invest in expansion and security at the same time. “Obviously, we can and must do both of these things at the same time – and we do. “


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