Amsterdam covenant signed at MozFest to protect young people online

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen calls for individual action to affect change


(AMSTERDAM | JUNE 27, 2023) -- Mozilla's first-ever live edition of MozFest House in Amsterdam featured a stirring keynote by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen and the signing of a new Amsterdam covenant for the online protection of young people. The festival also facilitated more than 50 sessions focused on trustworthy AI and a healthier internet.

Haugen, who rose to prominence for her revelations about the spread of misinformation on Facebook, set the tone for the event. In her presentation, she emphasized the power of individual action to bring about social change. She also discussed the importance of convening like-minded people to fight against the misuse of technology. Her new book, "The Power of One: How I Found the Strength to Tell the Truth and Why I Blew the Whistle on Facebook," is a testament to this struggle.

“We must not forget to build bridges," Haugen said. "Sometimes we think we're on our own, but by finding just one ally you can change that." Haugen urged individuals in attendance to collectively hold large technology companies accountable, especially when it comes to AI.

Amsterdam covenant signed for online protection of young people

An important local covenant was also signed during the festival, titled "Digital Awareness Online Living Environment." Signatories included alderman Alexander Scholtes of the Municipality of Amsterdam; school group ZAAM; Digital Rights House; and Samen voor Jongeren Amsterdam.

The online world plays an increasingly important role in our daily lives — including the lives of children. The covenant aims to educate young people about online safety. This will entail, for example, giving more lessons on digital safety in schools.

Digital Rights House study sheds light on government algorithms

In addition, the Digital Rights House presented a study on the "Algorithm Register," an inventory of high-risk algorithms called for by the Dutch House of Representatives.

Although the register was launched last year, experts have sounded the alarm about poor implementation and incomplete information. The research shows how citizens can be better involved in this process.

Haugen's individual action, coupled with the collective actions of the Covenant and Algorithm Registry efforts, reflect the power of change that MozFest celebrates and promotes.

The festival attracted a diverse group of participants, including Dutch politicians, business leaders, artists, culture makers and committed citizens.