Facebook are reportedly going to rename their company, in efforts to be known for more than social media and its harms.
The Verge reports that CEO Mark Zuckerberg will talk about the name at the annual Connect conference (October 28th), but this may be revealed sooner. However, the Facebook app would become a product under the parent company; much like Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus, and others.
The idea behind the rebranding is to reportedly to be in line with future plans. These include AR glasses, which Zuckerberg believes will become as commonly used as smartphones. Speaking to The Verge in July, he believed over the next few years “we will effectively transition from people seeing us as primarily being a social media company to being a metaverse company.”
Another is for Facebook to be (in The Verge’s words) “known for more than social media and all the ills that entail.” This comes after Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen (former Product Manager) released internal research and documents; showing Facebook were aware of “toxic” problems of its social media on people, but were doing nothing about it.
Haugen soon after testified to congress, urging senators to take action. Zuckerberg later stated that technology companies “should build experiences that meet their needs while also keeping them safe.” Despite approving of Congress taking action, he stated the testimony created a “false picture of the company.”
However, some have been skeptical of Haugen’s motives. As most whistle-blowers typically face scorn (usually from news outlets fearing legal reprisal for posting allegations, and lobbyists allegedly discouraging senators from pursuing matters); some felt Haugen receiving a large amount of media attention, approval from congress, and even indirectly from Zuckerberg was suspicious.
The National Pulse reports that Haugen had donated 36 times to the Democrat party, and claimed her whistle-blowing was likely backed by those interested in censoring social media (such as the Democrat party under the guise of combating extremism and hate, they allege).
Haugen’s call to stop Facebook apps “destabilizing democracy” have also been interpreted as denouncing those criticizing inconsistencies in the 2019 US election and subsequent audit. The Daily Wire reported Haugen; along with previously advocating for diversity in staffing and services at Pinterest, Gigster, and Google, has been involved with lawyers who worked against former US President Donald Trump.
Whistleblower Aid are representing Haugen. They also reportedly represented the national security official who made allegations Trump had pressured the Ukraine president to find evidence that Joe Biden (then Vice-President) had attempted to blackmail officials into clearing his son Hunter Biden of any wrongdoing in the Burisma Holdings investigations.
You can find more on that in our report of Twitter and Facebook censoring the “smoking gun” New York Post’s report; thanks to emails allegedly from Hunter’s laptop.
The Daily Wire also reports PR company Bryson Gillette (headed by former Barak Obama aide Bill Burton and reportedly staffed with “a raft of Democratic operatives”) is giving Haugen “strategic communications guidance.” The company has also previously supported the Center for Humane Technology; which have also advocated for censorship on Facebook.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had also worked for Bryson Gillette as a senior adviser until September 2020; where one of her clients was the Center for Humane Technology, according to ethics filings obtained by The Daily Wire.
Further still Zuckerberg has been accused of advocating for tighter regulations and censorship. In March of this year, Politico reported Zuckerberg’s written testimony called for online platforms to require systems to identify and take down illegal content; removing liability protections if they do not (section 230 of the Communications Decency Act).
However, lawmakers for both Republicans and Democrats rejected the proposal as (in Politico’s words) “political sideshow” that would help Facebook by hindering the competition.
Sen. Ron Wyden claimed Zuckerberg “knows that rolling back section 230 will cement Facebook’s position as the dominant social media company and make it vastly harder for new startups to challenge his cash cow.” Sen. Wyden had co-wrote section 230 in the 1990s, and has resisted efforts by congress to weaken the law.
“Section 230 reform will hit Facebook regardless of what these self-interested Silicon Valley CEOs want,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn stated, who had previously proposed removing protections to address allegedly anti-conservative bias by tech giants. “Big Tech only wants reform when it bolsters their power at the expense of competitors.”
Other senators criticized the proposal as vague, would disproportionately harm smaller businesses (though Zuckerberg did suggest new requirements on immunity could be “proportionate to platform size”), failed to address the heart of the issues, or suggested to protect Facebook’s profits with as minimum change as possible.
The above would characterize Haugen as a mouthpiece for Zuckerberg- providing just the right testimony to push the alleged agenda Zuckerberg wanted. Others would paint Haugen as a pawn of left-wing interests, pushing for censorship that would benefit the Democrats.
Nonetheless, all of the above are allegations. Only the future actions of congress and Facebook, or whatever name it goes by, will show where the internet is going.
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