META PLATFORMS

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ESSENTIAL FACTS:

  • Facebook is alleged to have harmful psychological effects on its users, including feelings of jealousy and stress, a lack of attention, and social media addiction. [1]

  • Facebook has been criticized for electricity usage, tax avoidance, censorship, and its involvement in the United States PRISM surveillance program. [1]

  • Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, testified before Congress, saying, "I'm here today because I believe Facebook's products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy. The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won't make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people." [1]

  • Facebook avoided billions of dollars in taxes using offshore companies. [1]

  • In 2022, it was reported that Meta planted negative stories about TikTok. [1][2]

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Meta Platforms

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Formerly

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Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook

January 1, 2019

Menlo Park, CA

Corporation

Corporate, Center-Right

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  • According to a leaked internal document from 2021, Facebook engineers "admit that they don't know where user data goes once inside Facebook's system." Independent privacy researcher, Wolfie Christl, says that "the document is a straight and clear confession that Facebook’s whole business is based on a massive GDPR violation at the most fundamental level." [1][2]

  • In a leaked 2004 text message exchange between Mark Zuckerberg and a college friend, when asked how he got the emails, addresses, and pictures of so many people, Zuckerberg responded, "People just submitted it. I don't know why. They "trust me"... Dumb fucks." Also, early Facebook engineering boss, Harvard alum, and Zuckerberg confidant Charlie Cheever said in David Kirkpatrick's book The Facebook Effect, "I feel Mark doesn't believe in privacy that much, or at least believes in privacy as a stepping stone. Maybe he's right, maybe he's wrong." [1]

  • BBC journalists reported 100 images of child exploitation, "but more than 80% were not removed". The BBC then requested an interview with Facebook, to which Facebook agreed, "but only if the BBC would provide examples of the material." However, "when the BBC complied with Facebook’s request to send the material, the social network responded by canceling the interview and reporting the network’s journalists to the U.K.’s National Crime Agency." Facebook policy director Simon Milner defended the company’s actions, saying in a statement that it’s “against the law for anyone to distribute images of child exploitation." Facebook rules also "forbid convicted sexual offenders from having accounts. But the BBC found five convicted paedophiles with profiles, and reported them to Facebook via its own system. None of them were taken down." [1][2]

  • In 2012, Facebook conducted a study where they intentionally manipulated almost 700,000 users' emotions without their knowledge or consent, and then published the results of the experiment in an academic paper.  [1][2][3]

  • According to a Pew study, roughly 44% of American adults get news on Facebook. [1]

  • According to Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, Zuckerberg stole their idea after they had asked Zuckerberg for help with creating their own social media company: "Harvard Connection". But Zuckerberg "soon abandoned their project in order to build his own site, which he eventually labelled Facebook." According to the Winklevoss twins, "Zuckerberg stole their idea and deliberately kept them from launching their site." Plus, in a leaked conversation where a friend asks Zuckerberg what he's gonna do about Harvard Connection, Zuckerberg replied, "yeah I'm going to fuck them... probably in the ear." Facebook eventually reached a settlement, reportedly worth $65 million, but they're appealing the decision, "claiming that Facebook misled them about the value of the stock they would receive." [1][2]

  • On Facebook, Russia, China, and right-wing media outlets and personalities have pushed pro-invasion propaganda and disinformation, including the latest false theory that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was undertaken partly to target U.S.-linked labs working to create bio-weapons. [1]

  • In 2016, a 28-year old Chicago man live streaming on Facebook was shot dead during his broadcast. However, "According to Facebook, the video hasn't been taken down because it doesn't violate the company's community standards." [1]

  • A 2017 study found that "higher daily frequency of checking Facebook on the smartphone was robustly linked with smaller gray matter volumes of the nucleus accumbens", the part of the brain crucially involved in managing addictive behaviors. [1]

  • In 2018, Facebook worked with Definers Public Affairs, another Washington consulting firm founded by Republican political veterans, to lash out at critics and other tech companies, including Apple and Google, during the Cambridge Analytica scandal that sparked global outrage over Facebook’s privacy rules. [1][2] Also, in 2019, after facing antitrust scrutiny, they drove the creation of a political advocacy group, American Edge, designed to persuade Washington lawmakers that Silicon Valley was critical to the U.S. economy, and that overt regulation could weaken the country’s competitiveness in a technology race against China. [3]

  • in an effort to protect his privacy, Mark Zuckerberg paid more than $30 million for four houses surrounding his Palo Alto home, including one he bought for $14 million, even though it was valued at the time at $3.71 million. [1]

  • Facebook has long provided inaccurate or misleading data regarding the number of fake accounts that are on the platform. [1]

  • Facebook has become a leading cause of divorce. A study published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, found that people who use Facebook excessively (interpreted  as checking it more than hourly) are more likely to "experience Facebook–related conflict with their romantic partners, which then may cause negative relationship outcomes including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce." Additionally, in 2011, a third of all divorce fillings contained the word "Facebook". [1][2][3][4]

  • According to a 2014 study titled Detecting Emotional Contagion in Massive Social Networks: "with data from millions of Facebook users, we show that rainfall directly influences the emotional content of their status messages, and it also affects the status messages of friends in other cities who are not experiencing rainfall. For every one person affected directly, rainfall alters the emotional expression of about one to two other people, suggesting that online social networks may magnify the intensity of global emotional synchrony." [1]

  • Facebook has earned at least $1.9 million in revenue from over 4,400 ads related to Trump’s new social network, “Truth Social”, despite his suspension from the platform. [1]

  • Facebook is allowing organizers of the January 6 riot to promote an international anti-vax blockade. [1]

  • Instagram is letting accounts promoting hate speech go unchecked. [1]

  • Platforms' crackdowns on Russian propaganda continue to overlook Spanish-language content. [1]

  • Roughly a quarter of Trump’s posts on Facebook in 2020 contained COVID-19 misinformation, election lies, or extreme rhetoric about his critics. [1]

  • On Facebook, ads for Tucker Carlson’s Hungary vs. Soros “documentary” have been viewed millions of times. [1]

  • In February 2021, Facebook contributed to a military coup in Myanmar, and has faced wide criticism for their response. [1]

  • As YouTube and Google banned Dan Bongino for misinformation, Facebook profited by helping Bongino promote the same false and sensational content. [1]

  • Facebook’s failures with election misinformation contributed to the deadly Capitol insurrection. A year later, the platform has failed to fix its problems. [1]

  • Breitbart thrives on Facebook, in part because the platform rewards sensational photos and videos. [1]

  • A 2017 study on Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) showed that people who are more narcissistic are more likely to be compulsive Facebook users: "FAD was significantly positively related to the personality trait narcissism and to negative mental health variables (depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms)." [1][2]

  • In 2021, social media platforms like Facebook enabled the deadly spread of COVID-19 lies and anti-vaccine misinformation. [1]

  • According to Free Press CEO Jessica Gonzalez: “Facebook is amplifying lies and COVID conspiracy theories" to “millions of people per day”.[1]

  • In December 2021, Instagram rolled out new safety features one day before the platform's CEO testified to Congress. [1]

  • Media Matters: Four times Facebook ignored its own research showing its platforms spread hate. [1]

  • Ad loopholes earn Facebook hundreds of thousands in revenue from Trump’s fundraising committee, despite his suspension. [1]

  • In Ethiopia, Facebook allowed posts inciting violence to go viral for years. The company’s response is both dismissive and ineffective. [1]

  • Facebook is still profiting from ads spreading misinformation about the 2020 election. [1]

  • According to Angelo Carusone (Media Matters): Despite name change, “Facebook is a threat to our democracy and our public health”. [1]

  • Amid public debate about Facebook and its harms, the company has spent millions on misleading ads promoting its products. [1]

  • New data shows Facebook's groups problem goes way beyond “Stop the Steal”. [1]

  • Instagram’s suggestion algorithm is promoting accounts that share misinformation. [1]

  • According to 2018 studies on social media usage, Facebook had the largest decrease in users between the ages of 12-24. [1]

  • Studies show that Facebook can often cause depression, envy, and low self-esteem. [1][2][3][4][5]

  • In 2017 it was reported that Facebook had acquired Onavo Protect, a VPN-based security app, largely as a means to track user's full online activity, allowing it to gather data on competitors long before the information became public. [1][2]

  • Fox News spreads misinformation about Wall Street Journal report showing Facebook coddled Breitbart News. [1]

  • Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin renounced his U.S. citizenship in order to avoid paying an estimated $700 million in taxes. [1]

  • When Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, the 15 month old company had only "13 employees and a handful of investors." [1]

  • In 2022, it was reported that Meta paid a Republican political firm, Targeted Victory, to plant negative stories about TikTok. [1][2]

  • In 2011, Julian Assange called Facebook the "most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented." [1]

  • At an exclusive White House dinner in 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping snubbed Mark Zuckerberg's request (spoken in Mandarin) for a potential Chinese name for his unborn child, politely responding that it would be "too much responsibility". [1]

  • Facebook engineers originally wanted to call the "like" button the "awesome" button. [1]

  • Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, testified before the U.S. Congress, saying, "I'm here today because I believe Facebook's products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy. The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won't make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people." [1]

  • Facebook is alleged to have harmful psychological effects on its users, including feelings of jealousy [1][2] and stress, [3][4] a lack of attention, [5] and social media addiction. [6][7]

  • Facebook has been criticized for electricity usage, [1] tax avoidance, [2] censorship, [3][4] and its involvement in the United States PRISM surveillance program. [5]

  • According to The Express Tribune, Facebook has "avoided billions of dollars in tax using offshore companies". [1]

  • Mark Zuckerberg built a website called "Facemash" in 2003 while attending Harvard University. The site was comparable to Hot or Not and used "photos compiled from the online face books of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the "hotter" person". This eventually turned into "The Facebook", which was was founded on February 4, 2004, and then in 2005 became "Facebook". In 2019, Zuckerberg founded "Meta Platforms", which is now the parent company of Facebook. [1]

  • The National Science Foundation spent $315,000 on a study "suggesting playing FarmVille on Facebook helps adults develop and maintain relationships". [1][2]

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