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Facebook identify change ‘dystopian’ amid whistleblower leaks, consultants say

Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

Facebook has dominated information headlines over the previous weeks, after former employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked hundreds of inner firm paperwork to a consortium of reports organizations, now known as the “Facebook Papers,” adopted by an announcement on Thursday that Facebook is altering its identify to Meta.

The identify change, a transfer Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes will assist rebrand the corporate and reposition it as a “metaverse” participant, comes after the disclosure of the Facebook Papers to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by Haugen’s authorized counsel. They resulted in an avalanche of tales shedding gentle on the internal workings of the tech big on a variety of points, together with suppressing misleading content material, monitoring harms exacerbated by its platforms, ignoring worker warnings and exposing worldwide communities to harmful content material.

Kirsten Martin, the William P. and Hazel B. White Center Professor of Technology Ethics on the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business and director of the University’s Technology Ethics Center, says, “One person who benefits from the rebranding and corporate name change is Zuckerberg.”

“It’s dystopian,” she mentioned. “If we don’t trust Facebook executives in the real world, why would we in the virtual world? If they cannot get a handle on the content on Facebook where the app was used to recommend an insurrection, how will those same executives get a handle on content in the virtual space they are proposing?”

Martin and her colleague, Elizabeth M. Renieris, affiliate professor of the follow and founding director of the Notre Dame-IBM Technology Ethics Lab, emphasize that nearly not one of the Facebook leaks reveal something stunning to teachers, researchers and civil society organizations which were engaged on these points for many years, although extra is anticipated to be launched within the coming weeks.

With respect to Facebook-amplified “lawful but awful” content material, Renieris says most of the firm’s failures, particularly in regard to content material moderation selections, come right down to scale and having an excessive amount of to police in too many nations.

“Insufficient cultural, linguistic, contextual or other expertise results in an overreliance on AI and other technologies,” she mentioned. “Is this a query of being too huge to fail or simply too huge? Do now we have to repair Facebook or break it up?

“Interestingly, the scale of the Facebook Papers is also overwhelming and suffers from its own problems of scale. There is much more than journalists can reasonably sort through. This could lead to more confusion and paralysis, especially on the part of lawmakers. There is no clear path to regulation. We may actually be further away from a solution.”

Martin, who wrote a case on the ethics of Facebook’s content material moderation algorithm, agrees what’s new now’s having such an enormous quantity of uncooked knowledge out there for scrutiny.

“People are talking about breaking Facebook up or fixing what they currently do,” Martin mentioned. “What’s odd is that Facebook’s answer is, ‘No, we want to grow and take on the metaverse.'”

Martin says there must be extra whistleblower protections or professionalization of Facebook’s engineers so that they have an obligation to report what they’re discovering.

Facebook Inc. rebrands as Meta to stress ‘metaverse’ plan

Facebook identify change ‘dystopian’ amid whistleblower leaks, consultants say (2021, November 1)
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