Big Takeaways From Senate Hearing With Facebook Whistle-Blower That Should Make Mark Zuckerber Nervo
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Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook are not having a good month, and following the senate hearing with Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistle-blower, it's probably going to worsen.
The Zuck will have some explaining to do after Haugen, 37, a product manager who worked at Facebook for two years, came with plenty of receipts. She also managed to do something we rarely see in our government lately, get Republicans and Democrats to agree on something.
Per the New York Times, both Republicans and Democrats in the hearing agreed that Facebook is causing harm to teenagers, and it has to stop. Lawmakers focused on the research intel Haugen brought to light, revealing Facebook was well aware of the harm apps like Instagram were causing to teens. Several senators proposed a series of bills that would introduce safety measures for young users.
Haugen even went as far as to suggest that the minimum age limit to join social media platforms should increase from 13 to 17. We highly doubt that will happen, but it is a thought.
It also appears the senate lawmakers in the hearing are finally more hip as to what is going on in the social media world. Generally, lawmakers show their old age at these hearings because they put on full display that they had no clue how apps like Facebook or Twitter work and how they made money. The senator's lack of knowledge allowed people like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey to talk circles around them during previous hearings.
This time around, the senators seemed more prepared and were able to ask better questions after Haugen broke everything down so they could better understand. This hearing ditched the partisan tone that the previous ones had. Usually, far-right Republicans seemingly being more focused on things like "free speech" and "banning" following their lord and savior, Donald Trump being silenced on damn near every social media platform following the events of the MAGA-fueled capitol riots.
But, we can't give Republicans too much credit because they will find a way to squeeze in some potential misinformation. Senator Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, the subcommittee's ranking Republican member, made a crazy allegation during the hearing. As seen in the New York Times, Blackburn said:
"News broke yesterday that the private data of over 1.5 billion - that's right, 1.5 billion - Facebook users is being sold on a hacking forum. That's its biggest data breach to date."
News of a breach of that magnitude would blow the roof off the building, but the breach she mentioned is not verified. There is a good chance that it's not even true. According to Vice, the claim originates from an anonymous account on a forum that obtained access to the database from a company called "X2Emails."
The anonymous post claimed to have "scraped" data on "more than 1.5b Database of Facebook," which included users' email addresses, locations, phone numbers, and other personal information.
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