October 25, 2021
London, UK: Campaigners demanding legislation that forces Facebook to stop harming children placed a 3-metre-high installation outside the UK parliament this morning, depicting Mark Zuckerberg surfing a wave of cash, surrounded by distressed tweens.
The action, staged by global campaign group SumOfUs, came as Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen prepared to testify to the UK parliament’s Joint Committee on the draft Online Safety Bill on Monday afternoon. Haugen’s prior revelations have shown how the platform consistently puts growth and profit ahead of public safety.
Images of the action can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/sumofus/sets/72157720065321217/ . See image captions for appropriate credits.
SumOfUs campaigner, Flora Rebello Arduini said:
“Kids don’t stand a chance against the multibillion dollar Facebook machine, primed to feed them content that causes severe harm to mental and physical well being. This industry is rotten at its core and the clearest proof of that is what it’s doing to our children. Lawmakers must urgently step in and pull the tech giants into line.”
Further evidence that Facebook is putting children at risk was provided by recent research commissioned by SumOfUs, which found that Instagram is awash with posts promoting eating disorders, unproven diet supplements and skin-whitening products. SumOfUs has also compiled a collection of personal stories from our members, revealing the day-to-day harm inflicted on young people by social media algorithms.
SumOfUs is calling on the British government to urgently pass tighter regulation of these platforms to protect British citizens. The Online Safety Bill must force platforms to provide greater transparency and user control over recommender systems, protect anonymity while tackling the amplification of disinformation and hate speech - recognising them as societal harms and allow independent auditors to assess the platforms’ tools, algorithms, and processes.
The group is also calling for cancellation of Facebook’s planned Instagram for Kids. While the company has announced it is “pausing” rollout, evidence of the platform’s harm to young people means it must scrap it entirely. Over 125,000 SumOfUs members from around the world have signed this petition urging Facebook to completely cancel its plans for Instagram Kids.
SumOfUs is a people-powered campaign organisation, fighting for a world where mega-corporations are not able to ride roughshod over ordinary people’s lives. Our members care passionately about the fight for a better internet, and over 400,000 SumOfUs members have signed petitions calling on legislators to bring these billion-dollar tech giants to heel.
For more information on the People vs Big Tech campaign visit www.peoplevsbig.tech