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Ex-Twitter, Facebook executives urge lawmakers to rein in social media platforms

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Former Twitter Inc. and Facebook executives told a Senate panel on Wednesday that the biggest social media companies can do more to curb extremism and misinformation, but won’t do so at all. unless constrained by regulations.

Brian Boland, former Facebook vice president of Meta Platforms Inc., and Alex Roetter, former Twitter senior vice president for engineering, warned the Senate Homeland Security Committee that social media companies such as YouTube, Twitter, Meta and TikTok had failed to address the damage their platforms can cause, including how their algorithms can amplify harmful content. They argued that the platforms prioritize profit over the safety of their users.

Both Boland and Roetter urged the panel to pass legislation requiring companies to create more transparency. Roetter said companies are unlikely to voluntarily reform their practices.

“Today you don’t know what’s going on with companies, you have to trust them,” Boland said. “I lost my trust with companies with what they were doing and what Meta was doing. We should go beyond trust to help researchers and journalists better understand the platforms.”

Boland contrasted corporate development with the auto industry, where advancements are tested and overseen by safety regulators before hitting the road.

“There’s almost no ability to protect our future and create a crash-tested version of a car,” he said.

The ‘growth versus safety incentive structure’ of social media companies is to blame for companies’ inability to manage the rise of viral misinformation and political extremism, he said. he declares.

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