Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen welcomed Facebook’s announcement that it was abolishing facial recognition but called for tight government oversight over the move to ensure the social network lives up to its promise.
Facebook made the announcement on Tuesday, in part in response to increasing scrutiny by regulators and lawmakers over user safety and abuse on its platforms. Activists criticize faceprinting as a serious threat to privacy.
“I strongly support government supervision,” said Haugen.
“If they say we got rid of this, what does that mean?” She asked. “There needs to be more transparency about how these operations work to make sure they are actually being done.”
Ahead of a meeting with the German Justice Minister, the whistleblower, who leaked a ton of malicious documents about the inner workings of Facebook, added that the “principle-based” regulation of the European Union and the UK was more effective at restricting tech companies than the United States’ more rigid rules-based approach .
Europe also played a special role in ensuring that Facebook improves its monitoring of content in languages other than English.
Facebook has been criticized for failing to crack down on hate speech in languages ranging from Burmese to Greek, despite stepping up its surveillance of English-language posts following the January 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.
“A linguistically diverse place like Europe can be a lawyer for anyone around the world who doesn’t speak English,” she said. “The reality is that Facebook has invested radically in security systems for all languages except English.”
© Thomson Reuters 2021