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Nobel Peace Prize winner slams Facebook for being ‘biased against facts’

'If you have no facts, you can't have truths, you can't have trust'

maria-ressa-rappler-reuters Nobel Peace Prize Maria Ressa | Reuters

Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa has slammed Facebook for being “biased against facts” and prioritising “the spread of lies laced with anger and hate over facts”.

In an interview with Reuters, the Filipino journalist, who heads the news site Rappler, told the agency that while Facebook had become the world’s largest distributor of news, it was “biased against facts...biased against journalism."

"If you have no facts, you can't have truths, you can't have trust. If you don't have any of these, you don't have a democracy," she said. "Beyond that, if you don't have facts, you don't have a shared reality, so you can't solve the existential problems of climate, coronavirus."

The report says Ressa was targeted by “intense social media hatred campaigns” from supporters of authoritarian Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte. "These online attacks on social media have a purpose, they are targeted, they are used like a weapon," she said.

Ressa’s statements come amid a whistle blower's revelations that the social media platform was aware that its algorithm-based newsfeed promoting content spreading hate, and that Instagram helped promote body issues among teenagers.

Frances Haugen, a former Facebook data scientist, testified before Congress saying Facebook harmed children, sowed division and undermined democracy in pursuit of breakthrough growth and “astronomical profits”.

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