Facebook: We are putting safety before profits

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Facebook says it’s “spending and doing more than any other tech company” on safety.

The company’s vice president also told Newsbeat that Instagram, which it owns, makes young people “feel better”.

That’s after it has received a lot of criticism recently over how much it does for users’ safety and wellbeing.

One ex-employee accused Facebook of putting “profits over safety” when talking to politicians earlier this month.

The company – which has changed its name to Meta – says it’s building a whole new tech world called the metaverse.

Some experts think the metaverse could change the internet forever.

“It’s a new chapter for our company”, Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president of Meta for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“The name Meta is really about where our company’s going, and also the future that we want to help build.”

She says the metaverse will “let people connect, find communities and grow businesses”.


Nicola Mendelsohn


‘Profits before safety’

On Monday, ex Facebook employee Frances Haugen told MPs the Facebook safety teams were under-resourced.

“Facebook has been unwilling to accept even little slivers of profit being sacrificed for safety”, she claimed.

And she warned that Instagram was “more dangerous than other forms of social media”.

But Nicola Mendelsohn says the company is not putting profits before safety and is spending $5bn (£3.6bn) this year “on protecting people’s safety, data and their privacy on our platforms”.

She added that the company employs over 40,000 people in this area, claiming Facebook was “spending and doing more than any other tech company”.

Ms Mendelsohn says Facebook is all about “making sure that people feel good about the experience that they have in our services”.

She adds: “We make our money from advertising. Advertisers don’t want their ads next to harmful content.”

‘Instagram makes young people feel better’

Some leaked reports have claimed Facebook sat on research that showed Instagram harmed teenage mental health, and struggled to remove hate speech from its platforms outside the US.

Mark Zuckerberg has described the reports as a “coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company”.

“The vast majority of people that are coming onto our platform are having great experiences, they’re connecting with their friends”, Nicola Mendelsohn says.

She says the company puts their youngest users’ safety first and that it’s working with experts to develop safety features for under-18s.

“We’ve built new features, like Take A Break, that encourages people to limit the time that they spend on our apps as well.

“Actually what young people are telling us is that the time that they spend on Instagram actually makes them feel better, especially if they’re people that are struggling with things like loneliness.”


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