Facebook Accused of Deliberately Causing Havoc in Australia Over News Law –.

  • #218979

    Nannette Daecher
    Participant

    id=”article-body” class=”row” section=”article-body” data-component=”trackCWV”>

    What’s happening
    CNET has obtained and is publishing whistleblower disclosures to Congress detailing how Facebook intentionally blocked Australian government pages as a negotiating tactic over a new bill lawmakers were considering.<br>
    Why it matters
    The disclosure is the latest in a series of leaks that portray Facebook wielding its power as the world’s largest social network in aggressive and potentially damaging ways.<br>

    What it means for you
    Lawmakers and regulators around the world are increasingly scrutinizing the tech industry, which could lead to new rules for how companies treat your data.<br>

    Facebook whistleblowers accused the social network of intentionally blocking Australian government and emergency health official pages last year to influence a proposed law. CNET has obtained and is publishing the whistleblowers’ disclosures provided to Congress. <br>Filed with US and Australian authorities in March and April, the documents describe alleged internal efforts at Facebook to break a February 2021 standoff with the Australian government. Australia was considering a bill that would force online platforms, including Facebook, to pay publishers for news items posted on their sites. Facebook responded to the proposed law by on the social network. (CNET was among the news publishers affected by this move.)<br><br>The whistleblower disclosures, which include redacted passages from internal Facebook communications, allege the was intentionally broad so that it would prevent access to government and health services pages. At the time, Facebook blamed those mistakes on problems with its computer systems.<br><br>The 67-page disclosures, parts of which , include Facebook’s internal plans to take down “news content” as Australian lawmakers considered voting on the new law. A senior congressional staffer, who requested anonymity because the disclosures haven’t been released publicly, provided them to CNET. The whistleblowers aren’t named in the disclosures for fear of retaliation.<br><br>The disclosures are among a growing string of whistleblower leaks from Facebook, which  last year. Frances Haugen, Webhawk a former Facebook product manager, provided a different cache of Facebook documents that prompted hearings in Congress and the UK Parliament. The new disclosures could generate similar governmental investigations in Australia.<br>

    <br>Together, the whistleblower disclosures portray the . In response, lawmakers and regulators, who were already skeptical of the tech industry’s immense power over global communication, have raised new concerns about the motivations of Facebook executives and their willingness to correct problems on the platform.<br><br>In one case, The Journal reported that Meta’s Instagram social network had been but failed to act. In another, Haugen accused the company of .<br><br>Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s CEO, has focused his public appearances on discussing new products, rather than answering controversies.<br>
    James Martin/CNET
    <br>Some of Haugen’s whistleblower documents, which were also shared with CNET and a consortium of publications, detailed how Facebook struggles .<br><br>Now, the new whistleblowers are accusing Facebook of exerting its power over another government — and at a time , and are considering similar rules as those in Australia. The whistleblowers have urged the Department of Justice to investigate.<br><br>The whistleblower disclosures claim Facebook hadn’t followed its standard processes when it began blocking news in Australia. The complaint accused the company of “to maximize the company’s negotiating leverage.”<br><br>In a summary of the disclosures transmitted to authorities, Whistleblower Aid, which is working with the “multiple whistleblowers,” wrote: “Facebook Inc. deliberately and knowingly over-blocked critical Australian emergency, health and government online resources as part of a criminal conspiracy to obtain a thing of value, namely favorable regulatory treatment.”<br><br>Whistleblower Aid is a nonprofit legal organization that helps “individuals who lawfully report government and corporate law breaking.” The organization also works with Haugen, the earlier Facebook leaker. <br><br>Zuckerberg rebranded Facebook’s parent company as Meta Platforms last year.<br>
    James Martin/CNET
    <br>Erin Miller, a spokeswoman for Meta, said in an emailed statement on May 5 that the whistleblower documents “clearly show that we intended to exempt Australian government Pages from restrictions in an effort to minimize the impact of this misguided and harmful legislation. When we were unable to do so as intended due to a technical error, we apologized and worked to correct it. Any suggestion to the contrary is categorically and obviously false.” <br>

    <br>Miller declined to provide additional comment about the new disclosures. <br><br>The disclosures show that at least three Facebook employees raised concerns about blocking pages that weren’t managed by news publishers. The employees also proposed solutions, such as proactively finding all the pages that have been mistakenly blocked and restoring them. The whistleblower disclosures note the team in charge of rolling out the news blackout ignored them, the complaint says.<br><br>Congress is considering a bill that  for people reporting potential or suspected violations of any law, rule or regulation enforced by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC Whistleblower Protection Act would also  “to take the significant risk of coming forward would substantially enhance the FTC’s ability to detect and combat deceptive trade practices,” the National Law Review wrote after the bill was introduced last year. “An FTC whistleblower reward program could spur whistleblowers at social media and technology companies to disclose data privacy and security practices that harm consumers.”<br><br>The senior congressional staffer who provided the document to CNET expressed concern that Congress is losing its appetite to push investigations and pursue potential laws that would rein in the tech industry.<br><br>”This is another in a long line of pieces of evidence that show that the regulatory oversight of social media is inadequate,” the staffer said.<br>Read the whistleblower disclosures by downloading below:  by on Scribd<br>

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Featured Doctors

Mark Youssef, MD
Younique Cosmetic Surgery and Med Spa

1551 Ocean Avenue , Suite 200, Santa Monica, California 90401

Visit Website
Luciano Sztulman, MD
Skinsational Liposculpture and Laser Center

1 Boston Place, Suite 2600, Boston, Massachusetts 02108

Visit Website