Nick Clegg, the Facebook vice president (VP) of global affairs has refuted a series of reports by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), where the publication happens to be claiming that the social media giant is aware of its flaws, but doesn’t seem to want to fix them.
The exec made a post on the platform’s blog, saying that while he does agree that it is “absolutely legitimate” that the company is being held liable for how it handles certain issues that were highlighted by the Journal, there were several “deliberate mischaracterizations” in the stories, which lent a vibe of “egregiously false motives” to the firm’s employees and leadership.
The set of stories published by the Journal this week detail how Facebook is “riddled with flaws” that are often harmful to its users, and that too, usually in ways that no one else other than the firm itself is aware of. The review is based on a number of internal documents that the news outlet has had access to.
One among these stories discusses the XCheck program, which the Journal has reason to believe is being used to exempt celebrities and public figures from the moderation guidelines that apply to Facebook’s ordinary users. A different report, meanwhile, delves into how photo-sharing service Instagram, which also happens to be a Facebook subsidiary, is problematic for the mental health of its young user base, with a rather concerning and negative impact on teen girls.
There’s also an account of how changes made to Facebook’s algorithm to enhance engagement actually resulted in making users more angry. Finally, light is thrown on how the platform’s own employees have been concerned about its potential to be used in human trafficking in certain countries.
Following the report, two Senators on the Commerce Committee, who are responsible for overseeing consumer protection, said that they would launch a probe into the fact that Facebook was aware that Instagram is deleterious to teenage girls.
Meanwhile, Facebook VP has refuted these reports by the WSJ in his blog post, saying that the claims that Facebook “wilfully ignores” the findings of its internal research should the results prove to be “inconvenient for the company,” and that it is aware of its flaws, are essentially erroneous. He further adds that the firm “fundamentally rejects” the mischaracterization that it has been subjected to, along with the efforts to “impugn” the motives behind the company’s actions.