Facebook is Struggling to Cope with Misinformation

Facebook is Struggling to Cope with Misinformation

Over the years, Facebook had to deal with various scandals. Its former employee Frances Haugen revealed many interesting about Facebook and its problems. It makes sense to discuss one document about Facebook and its impact on users.

A researcher employed by a social media giant created fictitious accounts in 2019 and 2020. The purpose of this experiment was to learn more about the platform’s influence on users. One account created as part of the experiment showed the complexity of the problem.

More than two years ago, a new Facebook user named Carol Smith signed up for the platform. She described herself as a politically conservative mother from Wilmington, North Carolina. Smith’s account specified an interest in politics, parenting, and Christianity. Smith followed a few of her favorite brands, including Fox News as well as then-President Donal Trump.

Carol Smith never expressed interest in conspiracy theories. Still, in just two days Facebook was recommending she join groups dedicated to QAnon, a baseless conspiracy theory and movement that claimed Trump was secretly saving the world from Satanists and a cabal of pedophiles.

Smith from Wilmington didn’t follow the recommended QAnon groups. Nonetheless, within a week, her feed was full of groups and pages that violated the social media giant’s own rules. As previously stated, Smith was not a real person. The researcher behind her account said Smith’s Facebook experience was a barrage of extreme, and conspirational content.

Facebook and its users

Carol Smith’s case shows the platform’s role in spreading misinformation. The findings, communicated in a report titled “Carol’s journey to QAnon” were among the documents provided by Frances Haugen. She is now asserting whistleblower status and filed several specific complaints that Facebook puts profit over public safety. This month, Haugen testified about her claims before a Senate subcommittee.

Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg denied Haugen’s claims. He defended his company’s research program and its commitment to tackling important issues. Documents released by the company’s former product manager partly support those claims. Nevertheless, they also highlight the frustrations of some of the employees engaged in that research.

Among Frances Haugen’s disclosures are research, reports, as well as internal posts. They suggest that Facebook knew about its problems. The social media giant is working hard to cope with information, but it won’t be easy to regain the trust of its users.