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Fixing the internet post-Facebook Files: toxic algorithms and manipulative business models

Whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed: Facebook’s recommender algorithm systematically promotes and recommends shocking or hateful content for profit. It is programmed to create the most interaction, clicks and comments. In practice this means it promotes content that triggers anger, resulting in extreme and shocking content being promoted, while other content is demoted.

At the same time, online platforms constantly track users and collect vast amounts of personal data for personalised recommendations and micro-targeted advertising. This dangerous system leads to polarisation, extremism and directly impacts our democracies. Facebook was aware of these effects, but did not fix their algorithm, because the targeted and large-scale spread of hate and disinformation brought Facebook profit.

MEPs from the Greens/EFA, S&D, the Left and a coalition of 76 civil society organisations stand united. We need to fix these toxic algorithms and business models and put people, not Big Tech, back in control of the internet. But how? And what are alternatives? These are questions that MEPs and civil society will discuss during this event.

Hosted by

Kim Van Sparrentak
Kim Van Sparrentak


Moderator: Dave Keating

15:00 Opening by MEP Kim van Sparrentak (Greens/EFA)

15:05 Session 1: Toxic recommender systems and how to fix them


  •         Claudia Prettner, Amnesty International
  •         Sarah Andrew, Avaaz
  •         Kasia Szymielewicz, Panoptykon
  •         MEPs Martin Schirdewan (The Left) and Kim van Sparrentak (Greens/EFA)

15:40 Session 2: How to fix manipulative business models: what are the alternatives?


  •         Marleen Stikker, Waag
  •         Anna Mazgal, Wikimedia
  •         Katie McInnis, DuckDuckGo
  •         Nienke Palstra Global Witness
  •         MEPs Alexandra Geese (Greens/EFA) and Tiemo Wölken (S&D)

16:25 Closing by MEP Kim van Sparrentak (Greens /EFA)

16:45-18:45 Livestream of the hearing with Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen