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“They have put their astronomical profits before people”: Facebook whistleblower slams big tech

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A former Facebook employee has slammed the social media company during a US hearing, saying the organisation “harms children, stokes division and weakens democracy”

Frances Haugen is the former product manager now turned whistleblower, and has appeared at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

Facebook has hit back at the claims, saying Haugen was speaking about the areas of the company in which she has no knowledge about.

This comes as scrutiny around the company’s operations and dealings grows… with many pushing for further regulation.

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers who were conducting the hearing were united in the need for change at the organisation.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal says this moment is the very definition of a bombshell.

Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn believes the social media giant “is not interested in making significant changes to improve kids’ safety on their platforms at least not when that would result in losing eyeballs on posts or decreasing their ad revenues.”

This all follows Haugen appearing on an episode of 60 minutes saying that Facebook continuously chooses profit over the mental health of its users.

At the hearing, Haugen also criticised the leadership of the company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, saying no one is currently holding him accountable except for himself.

Tech

Facebook, YouTube remove Bolsonaro video with false vaccine claim

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Facebook and YouTube have both removed videos from their platforms featuring Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, in which the leader makes a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines are linked to developing AIDS.

Both sites said the video violated their policies.

“We removed a video from Jair Bolsonaro’s channel for violating our medical disinformation policy regarding COVID-19 for alleging that vaccines don’t reduce the risk of contracting the disease and that they cause other infectious diseases, and that they cause other infectious diseases,” YouTube said in a statement.

Last month, YouTube moved to remove vaccine misinformation of all kinds from its platform, and has removed more than 1 million videos related to COVID-19 vaccine misinformation since the pandemic began.

Earlier this year, YouTube removed videos from Bolsonaro’s official channel where he recommended using hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin against COVID-19, two drugs that are proven to be ineffective in the treatment of the disease.

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End of scam calls? UK telco’s agree to auto-block

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Complaints from UK citizens being harassed with scam calls have been heard by the country’s telco giants

Britain’s major telecommunication company’s have agreed to automatically block almost all internet calls coming from abroad if they pretend to be from UK numbers, Ofcom has confirmed.

Scammers have been using internet-based calling technology to make it look like a phone call or text is coming from a real telephone number within Britain, rather than opting for a “No Caller ID”

Almost 45 million consumers were targeted by scam calls this summer.

Ofcom said it expected the measures to be introduced at pace as a “priority”.

Approximately 45 million consumers were targeted by phone scams this summer. | Image: File

Currently, just one telco, TalkTalk, has implemented the new plans

Other phone networks such as Vodafone are still exploring methods of making it work.

“We’ve been working with telecoms companies to implement technical solutions, including blocking at source, suspicious international calls that are masked by a UK number,”

said Lindsey Fussell, Ofcom’s networks and communications group director.
Lindsey Fussell (Ofcom)

“We expect these measures to be introduced as a priority, and at pace, to ensure customers are better protected.”

She added tackling the phone scams issue was a “complex problem” that required a coordinated effort from the police, government, other regulators and industry.

The move follows months of discussions between Ofcom and the UK telecoms industry.

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Business

Facebook papers – over 10,000 internal documents leaked

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More than ten thousand pages of internal documents have been found, exposing Facebook’s illegal dealings

CNN uncovered the company’s reluctance to prevent violence on its platform in “At risk” countries like Ethiopia, that is currently in a civil war.

Additionally, Facebook has been previously exposed for and has been found to still be recruiting, buying and selling domestic servants

A Facebook spokesperson said “the company prohibits human exploitation” and the platform has been combatting human trafficking for many years.

This all comes as Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s legal council revealed the documents to Congress

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