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Former Facebook administrator: We used tobacco companies' tactics to ensure your site was addictive


Source image: tellerreport.com

Tim Kendall - who held the position of Monetization Officer at Facebook from 2006 to 2010 - spoke to Congress during a hearing of the Trade Subcommittee, to find out how social media platforms can contribute to spreading harmful and extremist content.

"The social media services that I and others have created over the past 15 years have torn people apart quickly and intensely," Kendall said in his opening testimony. "We have, at the very least, eroded our collective understanding. I fear we are pushing ourselves to the brink of civil war."

"We have sought to attract as much attention as possible from a human standpoint, and have taken a page from the Big Tobacco rulebook as a guide for us to get users addicted to our product," he added.

Kendall explained, “Tobacco companies initially sought to make nicotine more effective, but in the end this was not enough to grow the business as quickly as they wanted, so they added sugar and menthol to cigarettes so that you could keep smoke in your lungs for longer periods. On Facebook we added updates. Status, Image Tags, and Likes, which put status and reputation first and laid the foundation for an adolescent mental health crisis. "

"It was allowing misinformation, conspiracy theories and fake news to flourish like the bronchodilators of major tobacco companies, which allowed cigarette smoke to cover a larger area of ​​the lungs, but this incitement content alone was not enough to continue growing the user base," the former Facebook director added. Focus on the amount of time and attention that will attract Facebook users. "

Interacting with the content increases the company's profits, so it is everything for Facebook, and Kendall said that "engagement" was the metric that guided all Facebook decisions while he was in the company, and Kendall assumes that this is the case until now.

He added, "We used participation in the beginning as a type of activities that serve the user, but we began to realize that participation may also mean that users indulged in a way that they would not be able to exit the application, and we began to see realistic consequences, but Facebook did not give much importance, so the feature of participation was Always the winner. "

"There is no incentive to stop toxic content," Kendall said. "I don't think this will change unless there are financial, civil or criminal sanctions related to the harm it causes."


Emotions grow

Kendall isn't the only former Facebook employee to express regret for his past work and take a stance against the company, and others have concluded that Facebook has crossed a comeback in the field of reform.

Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes last year published a lengthy editorial calling for regulators to dismantle the company.

"He's a good and nice person, but I'm angry because his focus on growth has pushed him to sacrifice security," Hughes wrote in the article about Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. "It's time to dismantle Facebook."

A few weeks later, Hughes took that message on a tour across Washington, where he met with members of Congress, the antitrust division of the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General's Office in New York to present a detailed case against Facebook.

Several other lower-ranking Facebook employees have publicly resigned this year, and software engineer Timothy Aveny - who resigned in June - pointed to Facebook's failure to act in front of a inflammatory statement by President Donald Trump that strongly included a call for violence against protesters.

"I spent a lot of time trying to understand and address the decision not to remove the violent racist post published by Trump, but Facebook, which is complicit in the spread of armed hatred, is on the wrong side of history," Aveni wrote.

Hundreds of Facebook employees staged a virtual march to protest the company's inaction in dealing with Trump's post, and many at that time also published public disagreements with Facebook and its CEO on other platforms such as Twitter, and one wrote, "Facebook's failure to delete Trump's post that incites violence makes me" I feel ashamed to work here. "

Another software engineer, Ashok Chandwani, has resigned, citing similar reasons to Avini, writing, "I can no longer afford to contribute to an organization that takes advantage of hate in the United States and around the world, it is clear to me that despite the mighty efforts many of us who work here are making." In addition to external defenders such as Color Of Change, Facebook chooses to be on the wrong side of history. " 

Source article:https://www.tellerreport.com/news/2020-09-26-former-facebook-administrator--we-used-tobacco-companies--tactics-to-ensure-our-site-was-addictive.H1denvj3rD.html