Lesson of the Day: ‘The Facebook Whistle-Blower Testifies’

Codi Saxon

Lesson Overview Featured Podcast: “The Daily” episode “The Facebook Whistle-Blower Testifies” hosted by Astead W. Herndon with exclusive visitor Sheera Frenkel The current congressional testimony of Frances Haugen, a former Fb personnel, reveals the methods that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, negatively has an effect on teenagers’ psychological wellness […]

Featured Podcast: “The Daily” episode “The Facebook Whistle-Blower Testifies” hosted by Astead W. Herndon with exclusive visitor Sheera Frenkel

The current congressional testimony of Frances Haugen, a former Fb personnel, reveals the methods that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, negatively has an effect on teenagers’ psychological wellness and how dislike speech has unfold on the company’s platforms. The listening to could be a turning point for the social media big.

In this lesson, you will learn about Ms. Haugen’s testimony and about some of Facebook’s most problematic tactics. Then we invite you to focus on with your classmates how the firm really should be held accountable and what change need to appear like.

Component I. Temperature look at

Read the statements underneath related to the way persons use Fb and Instagram. Then, rank every a person on a scale of 1 (never ever) to 10 (always).

  • I see harmful content material relevant to disordered ingesting, suicide or violence on social media.

  • I see inflammatory content shared by family members and pals in advance of I see trustworthy news resources.

  • I pause to browse an article, or do extra exploration, just before sharing some thing to my social media accounts.

  • Instagram and Fb have a unfavorable impact on my psychological wellness.

Pause to mirror: What do your responses say about the way these social media applications operate?

Portion II. Check out a movie

Observe a two-minute excerpt from the congressional testimony of Frances Haugen, a former Fb personnel, underneath. Then answer the pursuing issues:

  • What kind of know-how does Ms. Haugen have to discuss about the interior workings of Facebook?

  • What is the most important strategy of her testimony?

  • The New York Situations phone calls Ms. Haugen a “whistle-blower,” or an informant who exposes wrongdoing inside of an business in the hope of stopping it. What evidence from her testimony shows that she is a whistle-blower?

Pay attention to the very first 28 minutes of the episode beneath. Then response the queries that follow:

1. What was one of a kind about Tuesday’s congressional hearing, in contrast with preceding types on Facebook and other massive tech providers?

2. How does Ms. Haugen describe Facebook’s marriage with profit and its consumers?

3. Ms. Haugen works by using two conditions, “engagement-based ranking” and “amplification of fascination,” to explain why destructive content material — these kinds of as that on disordered consuming, suicide or violence — is pushed to youthful persons. In your personal words and phrases, describe what these two phrases necessarily mean and how they relate to the distribute of negative written content. Have you, or have any of your mates, seasoned this?

4. What are “meaningful social interactions,” or M.S.I., in the environment of Fb? How has this exercise come to be powerful in spreading misinformation and retaining persons attached to Fb? Have you recognized M.S.I. affecting what you see on Fb or Instagram?

5. Ms. Haugen talked about two matters that would make working with Fb and Instagram considerably less harmful: making much more friction and re-employing a chronological newsfeed. Clarify the objective of each individual of these. Do you agree with her recommendations? Why or why not?

6. What does Sheera Frenkel, a technological innovation reporter for The Periods, say are the strategies that Fb can be held accountable? How do persons within Facebook feel about these different approaches of accountability?

7. Why don’t Ms. Haugen and other Fb insiders want Facebook to be broken up or absolutely taken down? Do you concur with this point of view? Or would you fairly see Facebook taken offline completely? Why?

In your journal, answer to the pursuing questions: What is your reaction to Frances Haugen’s testimony? What surprised you in what she uncovered about the interior workings of Fb? What frustrated or angered you? What, if everything, presents you hope about the long run of the business or social media in general?

Now, talk about the pursuing queries with your classmates:

  • What do you consider need to materialize following to Facebook? What should really accountability appear like?

  • Ms. Haugen implies that Facebook need to “declare ethical individual bankruptcy.” What do you assume this would search like and what may possibly the results or outcomes be?

  • What purpose do you believe the government should really enjoy in investigating or regulating social media?

  • The podcast references Renée DiResta, an academic and misinformation skilled at Stanford University, who differentiates in between “freedom of speech” and “freedom of achieve.” Do you consider it is attainable for the governing administration to handle the unfold of misinformation devoid of infringing on the appropriate to no cost speech? Why or why not?

Extra Instructing and Learning Alternatives

  • Examine a guest essay. You can read through a former details scientist’s tips on how to control algorithms, Kara Swisher’s interview with the director of the Stanford World-wide-web Observatory and a former head of protection at Fb, or an essay that asks if Facebook need to “go away without end.” What points do you concur and disagree with? How do these items adjust or enhance your feeling of Fb?

  • Compose a letter to your senator. Describe what you should believe need to materialize following with Fb. You can share your very own ordeals with Fb and Instagram — what you uncover fulfilling about the sites and what you come across about. (If you never know where to start out, study what other teenagers have mentioned about their romance to social media and mental wellbeing and react to their feedback.) Then, deliver two or a few recommendations for how you consider Congress must take care of Facebook. Finally, uncover out how to mail your letter.


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