UnidosUS, Latin America’s largest civil rights and civil rights organization, cut ties with Facebook after a former employee of the social media company disclosed thousands of internal documents showing executives of Facebook were aware of the negative impacts of their platforms on some users.
Among the many disclosures from former employee Frances Haugen’s whistleblowers this week was how Facebook responded to research showing that an algorithm change in 2018 aimed to create “meaningful social interactions” was unwittingly amplifying a angry and inflammatory content which, as a result, heated political discourse around the world.
UnidosUS President and CEO Janet MurguÃa called the revelations “the breaking point “ forcing the organization to cut all corporate ties with Facebook “in an effort to better serve and protect the Latino communities we defend. “
Such algorithms have also helped amplify the viral nature of misleading headlines and unreviewed sources, according to a recent Nielsen report released last week.
âWe have repeatedly drawn attention to concerns about the negative impact that the proliferation of hate and disinformation on the platform has had on the Latino community. We now know that Facebook’s failure to adequately address these concerns was deliberate and resulted in even higher levels of hatred and misinformation on the site, âMurguÃa said in a statement Friday.
The Nielsen Report on Latin Americans shows that the Latino public is more likely to receive, consume and share fake news and disinformation online than the general population.
âMisinformation poses a threat to Hispanics, who are particularly vulnerable due to increased reliance on social media and messaging platforms,â the report read.
âGoing forward, we will support both regulatory and legislative efforts to provide public oversight to ensure the long-awaited and much-needed transparency and accountability of social media platforms, starting with Facebook,â MurguÃa said. .
After Haugen’s revelations, Facebook spokeswoman Lena Pietsch responded to the allegations in a statement, saying: “Every day our teams must balance protecting the ability of billions of people to speak out openly with the need to keep our platform a safe and positive place. “
âWe continue to make significant improvements to combat the spread of disinformation and harmful content. To suggest that we encourage bad content and that we don’t do anything is just not true, âPietsch said.
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