There are many threads to pick up on from the bombshell Senate hearing with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, but one thing is for sure: Haugen is alleging that Facebook has continuously prioritized revenue over the wellbeing of its users.
The downstream MSI is a problematic tool because it predicts when something might go viral — get a lot of views, shares, and comments — and then it pushes that content out to more users. This can have some pretty dark impacts because it’s spreading things based on their ability to engage users, not necessarily its usefulness or truthfulness.
Downstream MSI being tied to bonuses is something Haugen has speculated, and Facebook did not return immediately a request for comment from Mashable.
According to the Journal‘s reporting, which was backed by internal reports given to the paper by Haugen, the civic team urged Zuckerberg to “dial back downstream MSI more and in more places.” The company did not do that.
“Mark was presented with these options and chose to not remove downstream MSI in April of 2020,” Haugen said. When asked why he chose not to do this, Haugen said she didn’t know for certain.
“The best theory that we’ve come up with, and I want to emphasize that this is just our interpretation on it, is that people’s bonuses are tied to MSI, right?” Haugen said. “People stay or leave the company based on what they get paid. And if you hurt MSI, a bunch of people weren’t going to get their bonuses.”
This all comes in the middle of a chaotic few days for the social network.
On Sunday night, Haugen revealed on an episode of 60 Minutes that