McClaughry: Facebook under attack

By John McClaughry

Last week I watched news reports on WCAX and WPTZ featuring the Facebook “whistleblower,” Francis Haugen. She’s the former Facebook employee who copied thousands of pages of internal documents to prove that Facebook designs its products to attract customers, whose fees pay their bills and generate lots of profit for CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Well, duh.

Public domain

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen

Her testimony to a Senate subcommittee emphasized that Facebook allows the circulation of inflammatory and divisive content and — gasp — misinformation. And Facebook knew the ill effects this avalanche of false and harmful words and pictures could have, especially on teenage girls worried about their body images and social acceptance.

The senators leaped at the bait and enthusiastically agreed that something must be done to put the government in charge of regulating Facebook content and misinformation.

Elizabeth Nolan Brown of Reason offered a more useful conclusion: “Making tech companies share more user data with regulators, letting Congress decide what sorts of content can be seen on social media, and giving regulatory agencies more room to put tech companies on trial — [is] a cross-agency fishing expedition that will hopefully turn up something senators can use to justify all the time they’ve wasted on this.”

My wife and I raised two teenage daughters. If they had complained that living on Facebook lowered their self-esteem and suggested suicide, I would have said: “So, get the hell off of Facebook.” Government regulation of purveyors of alleged misinformation is the last thing a free country needs.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain

8 thoughts on “McClaughry: Facebook under attack

  1. It is now widely reported this woman was a plant for Democrats. Another performance put on by the well-heeled thespians who exist in a land of make believe – trying desparately to make us believe them. Social media – at this stage in the game – is anti-social media. No other invention in the modern era has done more to destroy society than Zuck and Jack (CIA ops? CCP clowns?) Also, each day these performers unleash a new “look over here” “squirrel” to keep people off kilter and unprepared for what is really coming. I’m afraid many people have no idea the level of crisis-mode coming down the pike. It will make the 2008 financial theft look miniscule in comparison.

  2. How about just outlawing facebook, twitter, et all that choose to censor free speech as their being unconstitutional speech platforms.. and the little snowflakes that can’t
    take the heat should quit posting and toughen up… life’s a bich and ti’s only going to
    get harder..

  3. How about just outlawing facebook, twitter, et all that choose to censor free speech as their being unconstitutional speech platforms.. and the little snowflakes that can’t
    take the heat should quit posting and toughen up … life’s a bitch and it’s only going to get harder.

  4. I think the author is missing a few points.

    First what Facebook does and how it does it is the problem. It’s completely subconscious, so your child would not understand the social pressures that are being put upon them through that medium.

    Second this whistleblower has come forward not to help fix the problem with Facebook but to unionize the control that the government issues over social media. She’s been allowed to come forward because it fits their agenda.

  5. McLaughry,

    Can you not see the importance of social media’s role in building self-esteem in adolescents? If they do this one thing well, certainly we can FORGIVE them their other trifling excesses in stifling scientific debate and demoting conservative thought to the ranks of “domestic terrorism”. Clearly the dissemination of clothing and acne creams will pay well so they can provide these essential services for the great unwashed adolescent faces of Amerika!!!??? And fulfill their great promise as surrogate parents for our youth.

    Alterenative theory by the late, great Constitutional Fundamentalist Frank Zappa:
    “Never Read Beauty Magazines; They Will Only Make You Feel Ugly.”

  6. John,

    At least 10 years ago, I had a Facebook account.
    When I saw what people were posting, I immediately saw the possibilities to target these people with ads, or with whatever, to get them to do what you want.

    Then, I tried to unsubscribe.
    I had no idea how difficult it was.
    Each time it said you are unsubscribed, posts kept coming anyway.

    So, I went with my iPad to a computer tech services shop, and PAID them to unsubscribe me.
    It worked.

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