Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen makes a press statement after speaking to MEP's at the European Parliament in Brussels, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. Credit: Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP

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While I admire Frances Haugen for coming forward as a whistleblower against Facebook, many of her proposals for change would not solve the core problems with the social media giant. In her testimony to Congress, Haugen detailed damaging Facebook documents which illustrate the harm done to teenagers by Instagram as well as records on human trafficking.

However, what Haugen advocates for is more regulation and controls on content. She says, “I love Facebook. I want to save it.” In a 60 Minutes interview, Haugen spoke of CEO Mark Zuckerberg: He “has allowed choices to be made where the side effects of those choices are that hateful and polarizing content gets more distribution and more reach.”

None of Haugen’s statements nor many in the media mention Facebook’s monopolistic dominance over many platforms. Facebook, along with Google, Apple, and Amazon all have monopoly power, according to a bipartisan House antitrust subcommittee. Because many of these companies drown both parties with tons of cash and well-connected lobbyists, it’s hard to get support for serious reform.

To me, meaningful solutions would start with modifying Section 230, where social media companies are given immunity for users’ damaging material. We also need to break up these big tech companies and ban surveillance advertising.

These few tech giants, like Facebook, amass an enormous amount of concentrated power. I believe Frances Haugen is just another tool for them to use as Silicon Valley wields its power to control political discourse to its own advantage.

Kevin Landry

Lewiston