Saturday Night Live Mocks Congressional Hearing With Facebook Whistleblower
13:29 GMT 10.10.2021 (Updated: 13:30 GMT 10.10.2021)
The development comes as the social media giant is reeling from revelations made by Frances Haugen, who claimed that Facebook prioritised growth over safety and that the company’s products harmed children.
US television sketch show Saturday Night Live has mocked a congressional hearing with Facebook whistleblower
Frances Haugen. The latest episode showed Ms Haugen, played by Heidi Gardner, giving her testimony on Capitol Hill, with the show apparently taking a dig at US legislators’ failure to take the issue seriously.
"What Facebook has done is disgraceful and you better believe that Congress will be taking action. Right after we pass the infrastructure bill, raise the debt ceiling, prosecute those responsible for the January 6th insurrection and stop Trump from using executive privilege, even though he's no longer president. But after all that, you watch out, Facebook!” said Senator Dianne Feinstein, played by Cecily Strong.
The senator then questioned Frances Haugen whether having 2,000 friends on Facebook is "good". Senator Ted Cruz, portrayed by Aidy Bryant, then asked the whistleblower how to turn off the bullying feature on Facebook, before voicing concern about groups that spread misinformation.
"I've seen groups with hateful names, like 'Ted Cruz sucks'. Now, shouldn't you flag those as misinformation?"
Ms Haugen replied that it wasn’t misinformation, but rather one person’s opinion.
"Well, it's more than one person's opinion”, said Bryant’s Ted Cruz.
'Facebook is Accountable to No One'
SNL’s latest episode comes four days after the real Frances Haugen testified before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, detailing how the company has allegedly been hiding negative information from the public.
Haugen, who worked at the social media giant for two years, copied thousands of internal documents that she then leaked to The Wall Street Journal and shared with lawmakers.
One paper showed that a study conducted by Facebook revealed that 13 percent of girls in the United Kingdom had started having more suicidal thoughts after using Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
Another study showed that 17 percent of teens said their eating disorders had got worse after using Instagram.
“I believe that Facebook’s products harm children. As long as Facebook is operating in the dark, it is accountable to no one. When we realised tobacco companies were hiding the harms it caused, the government took action. When we figured out cars were safer with seat belts, the government took action. And today, the government is taking action against companies that hid evidence on opioids. I implore you to do the same here”, she told the Senate subcommittee.
Documents leaked by Frances Haugen also showed that politicians, celebrities, and other high-profile individuals have been treated differently by Facebook, with moderation policies applied differently or not at all to their accounts.
The leaked papers also showed the company was facing a lawsuit from a group of its shareholders, who claim the hefty $5 billion fine Facebook paid to the US Federal Trade Commission in 2019 was so high because it was designed to protect CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The social media network said the leaks were misleading, and Haugen’s accusations "don’t make sense"
. Mark Zuckerberg said the company cared "deeply" about safety issues.