BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) — Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger is ditching Facebook in response to whistleblower complaints about the company’s handling of misinformation, toxic and hateful content.

The lawmaker announced the decision Wednesday, saying he’s deactivating his official Facebook and Instagram accounts until the social media giant and Congress make changes to protect democracy and the health of its users including children.

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“Facebook’s basic business model sows division and disinformation and I can no longer use it — and promote it from my official mediums — in good conscience for the time being,” Ruppersberger said.

The move follows explosive allegations from former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, who claims that the company’s algorithm rewards “angry, polarizing and divisive content,” and that Instagram is harmful for teenage girls.

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As The Washington Post reports, the algorithm valued reactions such as the angry emoji five times more than a “like,” amplifying posts that “were disproportionately likely to include misinformation, toxicity and low-quality news.”

It’s not just Facebook’s responsibility to make things right, according to Ruppersberger, who said lawmakers need to get involved too.

“While Facebook must do better to police themselves, Congress must also act and pass reasonable social media reforms,” he said. “I look forward to learning more about what we can do to promote change and supporting legislation to that effect.”

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The congressman said constituents can still engage with his office on social media through Twitter. He also encouraged them to contact his legislative and district offices by phone and email.

CBS Baltimore Staff