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Why these Facebook research scandals are different


A week ago, The Wall Street Journal began to publish a series of stories about Facebook based on the internal findings of the company’s researchers. The Facebook Files, as they are known, lay out a dizzying number of problems unfolding on the world’s biggest social network.

The stories detail an opaque, separate system of government for elite users known as XCheck; provide evidence that Instagram can be harmful to a significant percentage of teenage girls; and reveal that entire political parties have changed their policies in response to changes in the News Feed algorithm. The stories also uncovered massive inequality in how Facebook moderates content in foreign countries compared to the investment it has made in the United States.

The stories have galvanized public attention, and members of Congress have announced a probe. And scrutiny is growing as reporters at other outlets contribute material of their own.

For instance: MIT Technology…

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