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Do Facebook Whistleblower Revelations Mean China Is Right to Keep It Out?

The social media giant, Facebook, has recently suffered from a service outage. While it’s obviously not the end of the world for many, the company has experienced much worse with the allegations that a whistle-blower by the name of Frances Haugen has made. If you’ve missed out on the latest Singapore news, we’ve got you covered!

Reigniting the same old debate

Straits times

Haugen went on to disclose in a recent US senate testimony that Facebook puts “astronomical profits before people” above all else. Some tech commentators have praised Beijing’s stricter policies on the internet which include the banning of many offshore and foreign online services, as well as restrictions on certain unregulated algorithms.

The Chinese government has yet to make any public comment regarding the outage. Though many SG news and media outlets like the Straits Times have talked about the domino effect that the vast family of apps under the Facebook umbrella, like Instagram and WhatsApp, have caused when they were halted for hours.

China was completely oblivious of the outage as these apps are blocked in the country thanks to their Great Firewall. That said, the outage and the whistleblower revelations have put the social media company in a position as to whether the government should intervene in regulating the online world.

What you might have missed

According to Shanghai-based consultant Richard Turrin, China’s laws and efforts in keeping a close eye on algorithms are a lot smarter than many initially thought. The recent whistleblowing revelations have paved the way for many people to realize the importance of such laws being implemented.

Frances Haugen was a former Facebook product manager and went on to disclose everything she knows about the malpractices that Facebook is doing, including how the social media giant’s products harm children and how, overall, it had weakened the US’ democracy.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive responded in a blog post denying all the claims that Haugen has made against the social media company. He stressed that there is no truth to what she claims with regards to prioritizing profit over users’ safety.

Facebook has never been made available to China despite Zuckerberg’s many attempts. China’s strict censorship laws permit the social media giant from getting access to over a billion internet users and many other countries, including Russia are also starting to consider the idea of having their own internet firewall.

Should we learn from what China is doing?

The outages have made Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, comment on the current situation as a key point to whether they should have their own social media platform. Her statement in an AsiaOne News interview is very much in line with China’s stand towards domestic internet censorship, also allowing them to nurture their own internet services and companies all under their jurisdiction.

Simply put, many commentators have brought up the debate yet again on whether China’s approach to internet supervision is worth considering.

Furthermore, the six-hour outage has also presented a huge problem in terms of social media monopoly. In some way, Facebook, along with its almost 3 billion monthly active users across its family of apps, prove how a huge population is solely relying on a single online communication platform.

Countries like China and North Korea have their own social media counterparts within their territories and their approach towards shaping the public mind through the use of the algorithm is what makes a lot of people curious as to whether China’s internet regulations are much better.

The Chinese government certainly has a contrasting solution than any internet company in the West. But with the recent mishaps that Facebook has dealt with, despite being dismissed and disputed, can still benefit the rest of the world in terms of appropriately keeping internet users safe and protected.