Frances Haugen: Facebook Gets the Big Tobacco Treatment on Capitol Hill

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The most important thing in tech today is …

the fallout from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony Tuesday. It painted the company as a data-driven behemoth driven to devour user attention no matter what the societal costs.

Haugen’s testimony, on the heels of a 60 Minutes piece, recalibrated the debate about what, if anything, government should do to address the power and influence of Facebook. Haugen argued that Facebook thrives on emotional volatility, and that its algorithms are tuned to amplify that volatility; society, she said, needs the data to understand what’s happening and perhaps legislation to parry it.

Facebook, meanwhile, has not softened. The company’s spokespeople put out statements questioning Haugen’s credibility and expertise, and Zuckerberg posted on Facebook defending the company’s integrity and suggesting Haugen had painted an inaccurate picture.

The question now is what the public will remember, and whom the powerful will believe.

Coming up today on CNBC’s TechCheck, 11 a.m. ET / 8 a.m. PT …

Box CEO Aaron Levie

While you were sleeping …

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen told a Senate panel Tuesday that Congress must intervene to solve the “crisis” created by her former employer’s products. CNBC

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler told Congress on Tuesday that the SEC has no plans to ban crypto. Coindesk

In the broader world …

Companies shook off worries over the Covid delta variant and hired at a faster than expected pace in September, according to a report Wednesday from payroll processing firm ADP. CNBC

On the horizon …

Today, 12:15 ET: Michael Dell joins Fortt Knox on his new memoir, Play Nice But Win

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