It’s safe to say that Facebook has had better weeks. It began last Monday with a six-hour global outage and finished on Friday with one of its most strident critics, the Filipino journalist Maria Ressa, being awarded a Nobel prize. And in the midst of it all, the social network’s inner secrets were laid before the US senate by a whistleblower, Frances Haugen, who revealed how Mark Zuckerberg’s brainchild routinely and knowingly puts profits before the public good.

In our big story this week, global technology editor Dan Milmo looks at the fallout from Haugen’s explosive testimony, while columnist Jonathan Freedland makes the compelling case that, in knowingly concealing the societal damage caused by its own products, Facebook has become the tobacco industry of the 21st century.

The sense that the world is learning to live with Covid-19 is growing. As a long lockdown in Sydney was relaxed this week and travel restrictions worldwide begin to be lifted, it feels like we can begin to take stock of a momentous 20 months for the world. One area under scrutiny is the global Covid death toll – which, as Laura Spinney considers in our Spotlight lead story, may have been significantly under-recorded.

At the same time, a damning inquiry released this week labelled Britain’s early handling of the pandemic as one of the worst public health failures in UK history. Doubtless there’ll be plenty more such inquiries in the coming months; what they reveal about the global pandemic response will be fascinating.

The critical Cop26 climate conference in Glasgow is nearing and, in the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you plenty of features and insights from the Guardian and Observer’s brilliant environmental reporting team. This week we cast a critical eye over the biomass industry, hailed as a clean energy success story but which is drawing increasingly sceptical attention from scientists.

We also look at how the climate crisis has adversely affected global coffee prices, and whether global heating could soon make it commercially viable to grow the beans in southern Europe.

Our features section this week goes behind the scenes of the Booker prize, the prestigious annual award for English-language fiction writing that catapults winning authors into a world of overnight literary stardom.

Then, in the Culture section, we meet Jodie Comer, the Liverpudlian actor who made her name as a shape-shifting assassin in the television series Killing Eve, and who now looks set to take Hollywood by storm.

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