Former Google consultant Joe Toscano slammed Facebook for putting profits before people after two “catastrophic” reports say the tech giant allows celebrities to break platform rules and that executives recognize that its photo-sharing app can be harmful to teenage girls.
âThe reality is that Facebook is doing business as usual, isn’t it? What is Facebook’s product? We always have to come back to it. What is their product? The reality is that their product is outrage , her scandal, her sex. That’s all that’s going to happen you have to click, “Toscano said in an interview with Fox News Digital.
The Wall Street Journal has reviewed documents that prove that Facebook privately “built a system that exempted high-level users from some or all of its rules” using a program that was “originally intended as a control measure. quality for actions taken against profile accounts, including celebrities, politicians and journalists. ”
FACEBOOK SAYS ITS RULES APPLY TO ALL. CORPORATE DOCUMENTS REVEAL A SECRET ELITE THAT IS EXEMPT.
The program allows Facebook greats to protect “millions of VIP users from the company’s normal enforcement process,” the Journal reported.
The explosive report, “Facebook says its rules apply to everyone. Company documents reveal a secret elite who are exempt,” cited documents indicating that a program called XCheck – sometimes known as cons – verification – allows important users to post content that would normally violate the rules of the social media platform against such things as harassment and incitement to violence.
Toscano, a key figure in Netflix’s popular documentary “The Social Dilemma,” which details the negative impact big tech can have on people, doesn’t think Facebook will stop focusing on results anytime soon.
“What they’re doing here is they identify the people they know are driving the most eyeballs to their rig and are now giving them the most money and they Give them a pass to say, “Hey, you know what, what you’re doing is not according to our rules, but you’re making us a lot of money and you have the potential to do a lot more for us.” So we’re going to let it go, but just let you know it wasn’t right, âToscano said. “It doesn’t shock me at all.”
Despite the report, Toscano doesn’t expect Facebook to make any significant changes to the XCheck program without government intervention.
âThe best guess for me is that they’re going to change the name internally and keep hiding things,â he said. “I don’t think it’s going to change.”
In response to the Wall Street Journal report, Facebook claimed its XCheck program was no secret, but admitted it was flawed.
FACEBOOK REFUSES TO HAVE ‘2 SYSTEMS OF JUSTICE’ FOR USERS AFTER WSJ SCATHING REPORT
Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone took to Twitter to respond to the Journal article, first highlighting a 2018 blog post where Facebook defended itself against another critical report on its continued operation. order. This post admits that Facebook grants “cross-checking” to high profile accounts like those of celebrities.
âAs we said in 2018: ‘Cross-check’ simply means that certain content on certain pages or profiles is subject to a second review to ensure that we have correctly applied our policies,â Stone wrote. , quoting the previous post before claiming, “There are no two systems of justice, this is an attempt to safeguard against errors.”
âAt the end of the day, central to this story is Facebook’s own analysis that we need to improve the program,â Stone continued. “We know that our application is not perfect and that there are tradeoffs between speed and precision.”
The Facebook executive concluded, âThe WSJ article repeatedly quotes Facebook’s own documents pointing out the need for changes that are in fact already underway at the company. We have new teams, new resources and a redesign of the process which is an existing workflow. on Facebook.”
Toscano dismissed Facebook’s explanation as a typical “public relations statement” from the tech giant.
INSTAGRAM ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THE APPLICATION MAY HARM THE SELF-ESTIMATE OF ADOLESCENTS IN RESPONSE TO THE REPORTING
âI mean, yeah, they have double layers. Obviously what they’re saying there is they have double standards. Why my message as someone who isn’t famous, who doesn’t has no money, why isn’t my post double standard there? Because I don’t make them as much money as some of these celebrities or some of these politicians, “Toscano said. C the reality is, it’s a double standardâ¦ Treat everyone equally. I think it’s pretty straightforward. ”
The WSJ followed up with a second report indicating that the tech company is well aware that its photo-sharing app, Instagram, may be for the self-esteem of teenage girls.
Researchers commissioned by Facebook to examine the app’s impact on the mental health of young users over the past three years found that 32% of teenage girls who “felt bad in their bodies” said Instagram made it worse the problem, according to the WSJ.
EX-GOOGLE CONSULTANT SOUNDS THE ALARM ON THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF BIG TECH IN “THE SOCIAL DILEMMA”
“Teens blame Instagram for increasing rates of anxiety and depression,” reads another slide, according to the WSJ. “This reaction was spontaneous and consistent across all groups.”
Toscano said Facebook was “harming” the nation by refusing to take action.
âThey’re hurting us. They’re hurting our communities. If that was Volvo and their seat belts weren’t working, we wouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, yeah, Volvo. Keep making these cars. âVolvo would have a recall. They wouldn’t have these cars on the market until they fixed them,â Toscano said.
âWhy are we allowing this company to do things differently? Why doesn’t it shut down temporarily until it knows how to fix this? You know, it’s more than just a belt issue. safety, “Toscano continued. ” It’s catastrophic. You cause depression, suicides, lifelong impacts on these kids … how do we allow that? “
Instagram public policy manager Karina Newton said in a blog post Tuesday that she was sticking to research, which demonstrates the company’s “commitment to understanding the complex and difficult issues with which young people may be facing, and informs all of the work “Instagram is doing” to help those who are experiencing these issues. ”
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âWe are proud that our app can give voice to those who have been marginalized, that it can help friends and families stay connected from all corners of the world, that it can effect societal change; but we also know that it can be a place where people have negative experiences, as the Journal reported today, âNewton said in the blog post.
Toscano co-founded the Better Ethics and Consumer Outcomes Network (BEACON) organization which aims to âadvance the quality of human-machine experiences through values-based technological education and innovationâ. He plans to launch Pulse Policy later this year, which he says will further help people online with data protection measures.
FOX Business’s Breck Dumas and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.