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Facebook 'fix' needed, early investor Roger McNamee says

Levi Sumagaysay, The Mercury News on

Published in Science & Technology News

"In order to maximize its share of human attention, Facebook employed techniques designed to create an addiction to its platform," he wrote. "It deploys digital trackers to monitor and monetize the digital lives of its users. As a result, Facebook has emerged as one of the most profitable companies in our economy."

Facebook has not yet responded to our request for comment.

Here's what McNamee is urging Facebook to do: Own up to the negative consequences of its technology, including fake news and addiction, and be transparent about what it's doing to address those issues.

"For the past 15 months I have been pushing Facebook to sacrifice near term profits," he writes in the Guardian, in which the longtime investor says Facebook is his biggest investment. "The reason? I want them to address the harm the platform has caused through addiction and exploitation by bad actors."

McNamee is also saying sending surrogates to explain Facebook's thinking -- as the company and other companies did last year to testify about Russian-linked ads on their platforms -- is inadequate, and is urging Zuckerberg to testify in an open hearing before Congress.

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"Facebook is tailor-made for abuse by bad actors, and unless the company takes immediate action, we should expect a lot more of it, including interference in upcoming elections," he writes.

(c)2018 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)

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