A day after her identity was uncovered and a few hours after the blackout of the Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger platforms ended, Francis Hogen’s complaints reached the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The complaint states that Facebook misled investors about the size of its audience and hid the steady decline of younger users in the US.
The decline in younger users continued even during the pandemic, a period of time when overall social media usage has increased.
“During Covid, Facebook use has increased in all groups except the under-23 age group, whose use has continued to decline”,
Hogen —a former product manager on Facebook— cited the company’s internal predictions that a drop in participation in the platform by American teenagers could lead to an overall reduction of daily users in the U.S. by 45% between 2021 and 2023.
The latest allegations that Facebook “falsified” its measurements of number of users and frequency of use are one of eight complaints filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The complaints were first made known by Hogen’s interview with “CBS News”.
Hogen’s lawyers cited internal documents from the company, dating back several years, to support the whistleblower’s claims of…
“substantial misleading and omissions”
She —who worked on Facebook until May— will appear before senators in Washington on Tuesday, after a series of interviews with “CBS” and the “Wall Street Journal”, which “sinks” Facebook in its biggest crisis in years!
In letters to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission —written by the nonprofit legal organization “Whistleblower Aid”, which identifies itself as Hogen’s representative— Facebook was also accused of not taking action against extremism, hate speech, human trafficking, and national violence in its apps, including Instagram!
“For years, Facebook has been falsifying metrics to investors and advertisers, including the amount of content produced on its platforms and the increase in individual users; especially high-value demographics, such as teens from America”
the complaint states.
“By placing too many ads on users for which advertisers didn’t want to pay, Facebook overburdened advertisers on a huge scale”,
is also mentioned.
Hogen’s legal team cited internal Facebook files showing that more than 15% of new accounts created by teenagers are secondary, or duplicate!
The use of Facebook among young people aged 18 to 24…
“continues to decline”,
according to excerpts from internal documents of the hearing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, while young adults…
“spend less time, produce less and send fewer messages”
on the social network.
The company has described Hogen’s accusations against it as “misleading”.
“Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits”,
said Lena Pitts, Facebook’s communications policy director, in a statement on Sunday’s show with Hogen’s revelations.
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