Following revelations by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, the company is reportedly slowing the pace of its product development. Facebook is adopting this measure to conduct “reputational reviews,” a report by The Wall Street Journal claims.
The company wants to halt working on some products so its employees can look into how it could impact Facebook’s reputation. This group will also explore the potential impact of these under development features on children and if the feature could receive any negative criticism (via).
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke about some of these changes in a press statement on Tuesday. “I believe that over the long term if we keep trying to do what’s right and delivering experiences that improve people’s lives, it will be better for our community and our business,” he said.
“I’ve asked leaders across the company to do deep dives on our work across many areas over the next few days so you can see everything that we’re doing to get there.”
This appears to be an impact of the Senate hearing of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen
Expectedly, the company denied many of Haugen’s allegations. However, this new shift certainly illustrates the impact of her Senate hearing earlier this week. Haugen previously worked as a product manager at the company.
In her three-hour Senate hearing, Haugen told lawmakers that the platform focussed more on its growth instead of user safety. She also said that Facebook misled the users about its AI content moderation technology. Haugen sought new regulations on the company while also asking Facebook to publish its research more widely.
On Tuesday, a WSJ report discussed the company’s internal struggle with the knowledge that its platform was dividing users. It named Facebook’s policy chief, Joel Kaplan, as being particularly resistant to some of the proposals to fix the algorithms.
The report added that the “Groups You Should Join” and “Discover” sections directly contributed to people joining right-wing extremist groups.
Separately, the company also had to deal with a six-hour outage of services like Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp earlier this week. The outage impacted billions of users around the world and even some businesses. The company cited “the configuration changes on the backbone routers” as the primary contributor to the outage.