Facebook presents its results amid growing controversy over its policies

Facebook just presented the results for the third quarter of its fiscal year 2021, as well as his forecasts for the fourth, in the midst of a controversy, which is increasing, about his policies and ways of acting. This, far from extinguishing after the declaration of Frances Haugen in the United States Congress a few days ago, is growing after 17 media from around the world have published reports on the practices of the social network reflected in the thousands of documents that Frances Haugen has delivered them.

Meanwhile, the company has declared a few third-quarter revenue of $ 29 billion of dollars, a figure that represents a year-on-year increase of 35%, as well as net income of 9.19 billion dollars, with earnings per share of 3.22 dollars. During the reported period, the company’s advertising revenues reached 28-280 million dollars, while the area known as Others received 734 million dollars, 195% more.

The number of daily active users of the network averaged 1,930 million people in September, 6% more than in September 2020. While its monthly active users rose to 2,910 million, 6% more. Daily active users in at least one of the company’s products (Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger) was 2,810 million on average in September, 11% more. As for monthly active users in at least one of these products, it rose 12% year-on-year to 3,580 million.

For the fourth quarter, Facebook expects revenue of between $ 31.5 billion and $ 34 billion. Also, then you will start reporting your income and benefits in two parts. The first will encompass the company’s family of apps. The second, Facebook Reality Labs, will include hardware, software and content related to virtual and augmented reality. In addition to its results, the company has confirmed that it plans to invest heavily in what it calls Metaverso, which will reduce its profits in fiscal 2021 by about $ 10 billion.

Facebook favors the spread of political disinformation

At the same time that the company announced its results, several media have published this past weekend information collected in thousands of internal documents about the company that paint a very unreliable, and quite disturbing, picture of its operation. In them you can see a clear discrepancy between how managers represent the company in public and what you really know about your products following internal investigations.

The information that appeared, compiled by Gizmodo, draws a scenario of a company in permanent internal conflict, with a staff that is frequently put to the management. Many seem to show how researchers are left perplexed by the operation of the network, as well as frustrated and resigned by the inaction of the management, or by interference in their efforts to find solutions to problems. As expected, Facebook has denied many of the accusations received, as well as much of what is reflected in the leaked documents.

From Facebook they insist that he does not take sides in political debates, but apparently, internal debates in the company show that higher-level managers often maneuver to protect right-wing media to suffer penalties, or to suffer the consequences of publishing content that push the rules of the network to the limit. In fact, many employees believe that Facebook deliberately chooses not to punish right-wing personalities and sites, as Breitbart did several times, for violating the social network’s terms of use to avoid accusations of political bias.

The company also closed a program called Informed Engagement, which would have limited the sharing of stories without reading them first, because its management feared that it could impact mainly the conservative media, leading to more protests alleging bias.

Reports of conspiracy content and misinformation that spread across the social network ahead of the 2020 elections have also come to light, from QAnon content recommendations and other low-quality content to newly created conservative profiles. In addition, they found that 10% of all views of political content on Facebook alleged that the elections were a sham. In all of the exposed cases, Facebook managers either ignored the problems or did nothing effective to fix them.

Users with various profiles and little care about hate speech and trafficking outside the US

Facebook, on the other hand, has known for years that there are a relatively small number of people who use multiple accounts to spread violent content or misinformation that leads to tension, and according to various reports, it has done little to solve the problem. Call this phenomenon SUM (Single User Multiple Accounts, that is, One user and multiple accounts), and has not organized any coherent response to the phenomenon since it has been known to him.

All despite the fact that since March 2018 these accounts had about 11 million daily views, which represents 14% of Facebook’s political audience in the United States. Far from disappearing, this type of account, managed by a single user, already represents 40% of new openings in 2021, while according to what has been made public, the Facebook algorithm counted fewer of these accounts, and underestimated their influence on the social network.

Outside the United States, the company’s situation is not much better, since according to various documents it does not understand the particularities of each country, or it does not hire enough personnel in certain countries, and then move on from the situation or look the other way if hate speech is spreading through the network in some countries, as has happened in Myanmar, Ethiopia or India. Meanwhile, an internal report showed that 84% of the budget to combat disinformation was destined for the United States, while the remaining 16% was for the rest of the world.

Refering to fight against human traffickingAccording to several internal documents, Facebook is aware of the extent to which it reaches the social network, although it did not take measures to prohibit content on domestic servitude related to its recruitment, facilitation and exploitation in May 2019. Months later, there were still international trafficking networks of people investing advertising in the network, and apparently, the problem still persists in several countries. Thus, in February 2021, the network in the Philippines did not have robust detection methods for domestic slavery, and that the detection functions were not activated in the Stories.

Young people leave Facebook

Among the documents leaked by Haugen are several that show that its popularity with young people is plummeting. According to various statistics, in 2019 the number of adolescent users in the United States in the social network fell by 13%, and it is expected to fall by around 45% in the next two years. Meanwhile, those in the 20 to 30 age group have dropped 4%. Facebook has not talked much about the subject, but is aware that this is a threat to the future of the company.

Of course, it seems to have been, according to Haugen, «misrepresenting the top metrics you’ve been showing investors and advertisers»Excluding statistics that show brakes in the growth of age groups of young people. In addition, they have exaggerated the general growth avoiding the separation of the SUMA phenomenon in the reports on progress of the number of users.

Unsurprisingly, employees are upset that not only do they fail to act, but that they sometimes try to hide their findings. In fact, many of the publications end up referring, in one way or another, to the fact that the company’s staff is convinced that Facebook puts benefits before solving any type of problem.

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