Frances Haugen says Facebook’s algorithms are dangerous. Here’s why.
In his testimony, Haugen also reiterated how these oddities are more severe in regions that do not speak English due to Facebook’s unequal coverage of different languages.
“In countries where they don’t have local language integrity systems – and in the case of Ethiopia there are 100 million people and six languages. Facebook only supports two of the languages for integrity systems, ”he said. “This strategy of focusing on specific language, content-specific solutions for AI to save us will never fail.”
He continues: “That’s why investing in non -content -based ways to weaken the platform not only protects our freedom of speech, it protects people’s lives.”
I review this further in a separate article from earlier this year on the limits large speech models, or LLMs:
Despite LLMs with language disabilities, Facebook relies heavily on them to automate content moderation around the world. When the Tigray war[, Ethiopia] first starting in November, [AI ethics researcher Timnit] Gebru sees the flounder on the platform to get a handle on the bad information. This symbolizes a consistent pattern observed by researchers in the arrangement of the interior. Communities that speak non-prioritized languages in Silicon Valley suffer the most hostile digital environments.
Gebru notices that this is not where the damage ends. If fake news, hate speech, and even death threats are not moderate, discard them as training data to build the next generation of LLMs. And those models, repeating what they were trained in, ended up regurgitating these toxic internet linguistic patterns.
How does Facebook content rank in relation to the mental health of teenagers?
One of the more shocking revelations from the Journal’s Facebook Files was Instagram’s in-depth research, which found that its platform was worsening mental health among teenage girls. “Thirty-two percent of teenage girls say that if they don’t feel good about their bodies, they post on Instagram,” the researchers wrote in a slide presentation from March 2020.
Haugen connected this phenomenon to ranking systems that are also based on participation, which he told the Senate today that “causes teens to be more exposed to anorexia disorder.”
“If Instagram is a positive force, have we seen a golden age in teen mental health in the last 10 years? No, we’ve seen a growing number of suicides and depression among teens , “He continued.” There is extensive research that supports the idea that social media use increases the risk of mental health injuries. “
In my own reporting, I heard from an AI researcher who has also seen this effect all the way to Facebook.
The research team… found that users who were more likely to post or engage in internal death-a possible sign of grief-were more likely to act on wasting more negative material at risk. their mental health will worsen.
But like Haugen, the researcher found that leadership was not interested in making significant algorithm changes.
The team suggested tweaking the internal ranking models for its users to stop maximizing participation on their own, so it was shown that they were less depressing. “The question for leadership is: Do we need to optimize for participation when you know someone is in a weak state of mind?” he remembers.
Anything that diminishes engagement, even for factors like not exacerbating someone’s grief, leads to a lot of hemming and rift between leadership. In their performance and salary reviews tied to the successful completion of projects, staff quickly learned to drop pushback recipients and continue to work on those dictated from high down….
While that employee used to be, her daughter is no longer allowed to use Facebook.
How can we fix it?
Haugen opposes dismantling Facebook or repealing Section 230 of the U.S. Communities Decency Act, which protects tech platforms from taking responsibility for the content it provides.
However, he recommended carving out a more targeted Section 230 exemption for algorithmic ranking, which he argued would “eliminate association-based ranking.” He also suggested bringing back the chronological Facebook news feed.