Here's How We Stop Facebook


A former Facebook employee just testified in front of the United States Congress and blew the whistle—shining a light on the way that apps like Instagram and YouTube use algorithms that pick and choose what content to show us (and not show us) in order to keep us scrolling and clicking, to sell more ads. These dangerous algorithms use our own personal data to manipulate us. They’re hurting our kids, undermining democracy in the U.S. and globally, and exacerbating discrimination.

Fortunately, there’s a simple thing Congress can do right now: it can finally pass a real data privacy law for the United States, that makes it illegal for companies like Facebook and YouTube to collect the massive amount of data they need to power their algorithms. The best way to stop Facebook’s harms for the whole world is to cut off the fuel supply for its dangerous machine.

Tell lawmakers to investigate Facebook and pass a real data privacy law that ends their harmful business model forever.

To: Congress
From: [Your Name]

Whistleblower Frances Haugen has shined a light on how Big Tech companies like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube use harmful algorithms to recommend content in order to maximize profit, and the mass surveillance and data harvesting practices that power the algorithms. Stopping these companies from amassing data by passing strong privacy laws that put people—not corporations—in control of our personal information will severely diminish these platforms’ harms.

Congress must pass strong data privacy legislation, and the FTC should move forward with rule making that prohibits companies from collecting, purchasing or otherwise acquiring user information beyond what is needed to provide the service requested by the user, and from using this information for another purpose or to transfer it to another company without the user’s explicit, opt-in consent. There should also be clear guardrails around what companies can do. People shouldn’t have to pay more if they assert their privacy rights, using a service shouldn’t be conditioned on turning over personal information that is not necessary, and technology companies should not be able to discriminate against people in ways that would be illegal in the physical world or that undermine the intent of existing civil rights laws.

We also call on Congress to use its subpoena power to gather more information and hold Facebook accountable for its harmful practices.

Passing federal data privacy legislation is a clear step that you can take right now to stop Facebook from causing more harm, and to make all social media and the Internet a better, safer place that enhances our democracy and where our rights are protected.