All about Facebook
Internal communications from an ongoing Meta lawsuit showed that its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, personally vetoed projects and initiatives aimed at improving the well-being of teens on Instagram and Facebook. Furthermore, the documents show internal disagreements between Zuckerberg and other executives, such as Instagram chief Adam Mosseri.
Zuckerberg vetoed improvements
- According to information from CNNthe CEO personally prevented some initiatives from getting off the ground.
- The lawsuit, which began the communications, was filed by the state of Massachusetts last month, showing how Mark Zuckerberg and other executives did not do enough to protect more than 33 million teenagers who use Instagram in the United States.
- Allegations against Meta include promoting unrealistic body image expectations, which harm teens’ mental health.
- One of the initiatives that could correct this was the deactivation of Instagram’s “beauty filter”, a technology that digitally alters the user’s appearance on screen. The proposal dates back to 2019, but was vetoed by Zuckerberg in 2020.
- When refusing the project, the executive would have stated that there was a demand for the filters and there was no proof that they were harmful.
Influence of the CEO on the Goal and internal conflicts
The communications, which became public due to the lawsuit against Massachusetts, showed Mark Zuckerberg’s influence on Meta’s decision-making, which is not always unanimous among executives. At the time, Mosseri, head of Instagram, and Fidji Simo, head of Facebook, did not support the CEO’s decision and expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of investment in initiatives to promote users’ well-being.
Meta spokesperson Andy Stone also argued that filters are commonly used in the industry, but that big tech prohibits extreme changes, such as changes in skin color, extreme weight loss and cosmetic surgeries.
Stone added that Meta offers 30 tools to support the well-being of teens and families, such as limiting screen time and the ability to remove like counts. However, the process shows that this removal was supposed to be a standard feature in the app, but was downgraded to something optional, which is rarely used.
More Meta processes
To make matters worse, just over a year later, in 2021, the scandal reported by Frances Heugen came to light: the former employee revealed how the company knew that Facebook and Instagram were harmful to users and was not taking initiatives to to change.
The case started a turmoil at Meta that further divided the team. Although some executives, such as David Ginsberg, the company’s vice president of Communications, defended improvements in social networks, Susan Li, chief financial officer, responded that big tech’s leadership refused to finance these initiatives.
Other whistleblowers in the 2021 case and executives mentioned in the company’s internal communications show how Mark Zuckerberg repeatedly ignored warnings about the platforms’ potential harm to users.