Keith Zubrow, CBS’ 60 Minutes Overtime »

Haugen stated that some of Facebook’s own research found that “angry content” is more likely to receive engagement, something that content producers and political parties are aware of.

“One of the most shocking pieces of information that I brought out of Facebook that I think is essential to this disclosure is political parties have been quoted, in Facebook’s own research, saying, we know you changed how you pick out the content that goes in the home feed,” said Haugen. “And now if we don’t publish angry, hateful, polarizing, divisive content, crickets. We don’t get anything. And we don’t like this. We know our constituents don’t like this. But if we don’t do these stories, we don’t get distributed. And so it used to be that we did very little of it, and now we have to do a lot of it, because we have jobs to do. And if we don’t get traffic and engagement, we’ll lose our jobs.”

Canadian media outlets have also discovered this path to profits.

American-owned Postmedia (National Post, Financial Post, Toronto Sun, et al) and many of other Canadian media outlets prioritize growth, engagement, and profit over everything else (democracy, facts, real news, …). When they realized that polarizing and angering content drives engagement more than anything else, they pushed more of it.

Former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen should be celebrated for helping to expose the truth about Facebook.

Washington Post »

Widely referred to as a “Facebook whistleblower” responsible for leaking documents behind a Wall Street Journal series, Haugen spoke publicly about her complaint to federal authorities, disclosing her identity for the first time in an interview airing Sunday night on “60 Minutes.”

“There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money,” Haugen said in the interview.

A veteran of tech companies including Pinterest, Yelp and Google, Haugen, 37, left Facebook in May after developing serious reservations about the company’s policies, particularly surrounding the events of Jan. 6. Before the 2020 election, Haugen said, Facebook implemented measures to prevent the spread of misinformation, but the company decided to dissolve many of these protections after the election. She said she stopped trusting that her employer was willing to limit growth to improve public safety.

“As soon as the election was over, they turned them back off, or they changed the settings back to what they were before to prioritize growth over safety,” she said. “And that really feels like a betrayal of democracy to me.”