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Nick Clegg speaks at a conference in Munich in 2020. Photo: Lino Mirgeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

Nick Clegg, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, appeared on several television shows Sunday to defend the company's algorithm and security measures and detail steps the company says it will take to protect users.

The big picture: Clegg told ABC's "This Week" that doing away with Facebook and Instagram's algorithm for displaying content would lead to "more, not less" hate speech, misinformation and harmful content on users' feeds.

  • "[T]hose algorithmic systems precisely are designed like a great, giant spam filter to identify and deprecate and downgrade bad content," Clegg said.

Why it matters: The Facebook executive's media tour comes after whistleblower Frances Haugen last week urged lawmakers to regulate the company, saying it knows its algorithms can lead teens to pro-anorexia content and that it boosts extreme content more likely to elicit a reaction from users.

On CNN's "State of the Union," Clegg said Instagram is a positive experience "for the overwhelming majority of teenagers," and is only potentially harmful to a minority of them.

  • Asked what Facebook is doing to mitigate harm to those users, Clegg cited the company's pause on developing Instagram Kids and said it plans to introduce options to let adults supervise their children, algorithmic "nudges" when teens are looking at harmful content, and a "take a break" prompt urging kids to get away from the platform.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Rebutting Haugen's claims that Facebook is primarily motivated by profit, Clegg said Facebook has invested over $13 billion in recent years for research on safety on its platform — "more than the total revenue of Twitter over the last four years."

On NBC's "Meet the Press," Clegg addressed Haugen's testimony that Facebook rolled back some of its security provisions following the 2020 election.

  • Clegg said some of these provisions were "very, very blunt tools, which were basically scooping up a lot of entirely innocent, legitimate, legal, playful, enjoyable content."

Go deeper: Facebook whistleblower's moment

Go deeper

Oct 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Facebook stories fill newsfeeds

Photo: John Minchillo/Associated Press

A gusher of Facebook stories hit the web Friday night and will cascade into next week, as a consortium of at least 17 news organizations unfurl a series branded "The Facebook Papers," based on documents from whistleblower Frances Haugen.

Driving the news: The consortium's plan was for the stories to begin Monday. But one outlet after another jumped the gun last evening.

Blumenthal decries Facebook's "platitudes and bromides" on increased oversight

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Richard Blumenthal on Sunday appeared on CNN's "Reliable Sources," and took issue with past statements from Facebook officials, suggesting the company welcomed new oversight.

Why it matters: Blumenthal, who chairs the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protections, made his remarks amid a broader discussion on government regulation of the tech industry and new revelations about Facebook's internal practices.

Jan. 6 committee examining Capitol riot financing, Facebook's role

Bennie Thompson. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the Jan. 6 select committee, told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the committee is "working with" Facebook to obtain requested information and that it is examining the financing that went into the Capitol riot.

Why it matters: In August, the committee issued record requests from social media companies, including Facebook, regarding the lead-up and day of the insurrection. Thompson said the committee is in the process of negotiating with Facebook and other platforms for certain information.