Somewhere, a team of Facebook employees opens a bottle of champagne and slaps each other on the back. Just days after whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress that the company’s platforms actively harm children and spread dangerous disinformation, the social media giant embarked on a plan to alleviate the problems it he knows for a long time internally. The company will offer several new features on its platforms, including politely asking teens to take a break if the algorithm judges they’ve been scrolling Instagram for too long, and “pushing” young users if they check in repeatedly. content deemed harmful to their mental health.
The trumpet for these new features has been handed to Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs, who earned his salary this weekend by stopping off at a number of Sunday news shows. “We are constantly iterating to improve our products,” Clegg said on State of the Union. “We cannot just flick the wand to make everyone’s life perfect. What we can do is improve our products, so that our products are also safe and comfortable to use. Clegg added that the company needed “more transparency.” Josh Golin, executive director of a media marketing watchdog, interviewed by the AP, simply said of the new features: “There are huge reasons to be skeptical. “
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