Facebook profits rise after revelations about leaked documents

Facebook reported Monday a higher profit in the third quarter amid fallout from the Facebook Papers documents that support claims that the social media network values financial success over user safety.

Facebook profits rise after revelations about leaked documents

Facebook reported Monday a higher profit in the third quarter amid fallout from the Facebook Papers documents that support claims that the social media network values financial success over user safety.

Mine Nur Deniz
Mine Nur Deniz
26 October 2021 Tuesday 12:59
63 Reads
Facebook profits rise after revelations about leaked documents

The latest financial strength announcement by the company followed a flurry of reports about the Facebook Papers. This vast repository of redacted documents was obtained by a consortium news organizations including The Associated Press and Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower.

Facebook reported that its net income increased 17% to $9.19 Billion in the July-September period, thanks to strong advertising revenue. This is an increase of $7.85 billion from a year ago. Revenue increased 35% to $29.01 trillion. Analyst expectations were exceeded by the results of Facebook.

After closing down 1%, the company's shares rose by 2.5% in after-hours trades.

Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at eMarketer, stated that "for now the revenue picture Facebook looks as good and expected." She predicted further revelations, and called the results so far "unsettling" and "gut-churning".

CEO Mark Zuckerberg only briefly mentioned the "recent controversy around our company." He reiterated statements he made following Haugen's testimony before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oct. 5. He said that while he welcomed "good faith criticism", he considers the current storm to be a coordinated effort to present a "false image" of the company, based on leaked documents.

Zuckerberg stated that while it sounds good to claim that we can't solve impossible tradeoffs as we're only focused on making money, the truth is that these questions aren't primarily about our business but about balancing difficult values."

Haugen said Monday to a British parliamentary panel that the social media giant incites hatred and extremism online, fails to protect children against harmful content, and has no incentive to fix it. This is allowing momentum for European governments to tighten regulation of tech companies.

Although her testimony was similar to what she said to the U.S. Senate last month, her personal appearance attracted intense attention from a British committee that is far more advanced in drafting legislation to limit the power of social media firms.

Haugen stated to the United Kingdom's Parliament that Facebook Groups increase online hate. He said that algorithms that prioritize engagement make it difficult for people with more mainstream interests to join extremist groups. Former Facebook data scientist Haugen suggested that moderators could be added to stop extremist views being spread by groups larger than a specified size.

She stated, "Unquestionably it's making hatred worse."

Haugen stated that she was shocked to learn that Facebook is planning to increase its focus on "the metaverse," Zuckerberg's idea for an immersive online environment. This plan will help it to be the next internet trend.

Haugen stated that 10,000 European engineers will be hired to work in the metaverse. She said, "I was like, "Wow, do ye know what safety could have done if we had 10,000 engineers?"

Facebook stated that it wanted regulation for tech companies, and was pleased the U.K. was leading this way.

Facebook stated Monday that while there are rules for harmful content and transparency reports, they agree that regulation is needed across the entire industry to ensure businesses like ours don't make these decisions alone.

It claimed that $13 billion (9.4 Billion Pounds) has been invested in safety and security since 2016, and that it had "almost halved the amount of hate speech" over the past three quarters.

Haugen claimed that Instagram failed to prevent children younger than 13 from opening an account, claiming it was not doing enough to protect them from content that makes them feel bad about themselves.

According to Facebook's research, it is a narrative of an addict. She said that this makes her unhappy.

Last month, the company delayed plans to create an Instagram for kids that is geared towards children under 13 years old. This was in response to concerns about the vulnerability of younger Instagram users.

Haugen retorted when asked if she believed Facebook was fundamentally evil. She said that she couldn't see the hearts of men and Facebook was not evil but negligent.

After her testimony in the U.S. on the danger the company presents, Haugen made this Haugen's second appearance in front of lawmakers. Haugen referenced internal research documents that she had secretly copied prior to leaving her job at Facebook's civic integrity division.

According to documents Haugen gave to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (USSEC), the documents claim that Facebook favored safety over profits and concealed its research from investors and public. Some stories that were based on these files have been published. They expose internal turmoil following the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol Riot and the diversion it made over curbing divisive content from India. There is more to come.

Representatives from Facebook, and other social media companies, will speak to the British Committee Thursday.

Haugen will meet with officials from the European Union in Brussels next month. The bloc's executive committee is updating its digital rulesbook to better protect internet users. It is holding online companies more accountable for dangerous or illegal content.

The U.K. rules will take effect next year and Silicon Valley giants could face a maximum penalty of 10% of their global revenues for violating them. Similar penalties are being proposed by the EU.

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