Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, told several Sunday morning news shows that the company plans to adopt new tools to divert users away from harmful information, limit political content, and offer parents more control over their children’s Instagram accounts.
Clegg did not go into detail about the tools, but he did say on ABC’s “This Week” that one measure would encourage Instagram users who had been using it for a long time to “take a vacation.” Teens who see content that is detrimental to their well-being will be prompted to view something different by another feature.
He also said that the company’s recent suspension of Instagram Kids, a service for youngsters 13 and younger, is a part of the solution.
″… We have no commercial incentive to do anything other than try and make sure that the experience is positive,” Clegg said. “We can’t change human nature. We always see bad things online. We can do everything we can to try to reduce and mitigate them.”
Following a Senate hearing earlier this month, whistleblower Frances Haugen, accused of leaking confidential company papers to both The Wall Street Journal and Congress, claimed that Facebook prioritizes profits over users’ health and safety.
Several issues were brought to light by documents released by Haugen, including Instagram’s negative impact on kids’ mental health, which the corporation either ignores or fails to address.
Clegg told ABC that the corporation is taking this action because “we need to be held accountable” for the stuff it publishes. He encouraged lawmakers to intervene as congressional leaders call on Facebook to be more transparent about how it protects the privacy of its users.
“We’re not saying this is somehow a substitution of our own responsibilities, but there are a whole bunch of things that only regulators and lawmakers can do,” he told “Meet the Press” on NBC. “And at the end of the day, I don’t think anyone wants a private company to adjudicate on these really difficult trade-offs between free expression on one hand and moderating or removing content on the other.”
When asked about Facebook’s role in spreading hate speech and misinformation leading up to the Capitol incident on January 6, Clegg said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that people were accountable for their conduct.
According to him, because algorithms act as “huge spam filters,” removing them would increase false information. In addition, Facebook is looking into ways to limit the amount of political content that some people see.
“Our job is to mitigate and reduce the bad and amplify the good and I think those investments, that technology and some of that evidence of how little hate speech there is compared to a few years ago, shows that we are moving in the right direction,” he told “Meet the Press.”