Facebook Whistleblower Reveals Identity, Details How Platform Prioritizes Profit Over Public Safety
Frances Haugen, a former product manager hired to combat election interference on Facebook, appeared on CBS' "60 Minutes" on Sunday, outing herself as the whistleblower who supplied the Wall Street Journal with internal Facebook documents that became the framework for a wide-ranging investigative series.
Haugen, 37, alleged in her "60 Minutes" interview that, while working at Facebook, she observed several "conflicts of interest between what was good for the public, and what was good for Facebook."
The issue became compounded after she observed the company repeatedly "optimizing its own interests," which, in most cases, amounted to "making more money," according to the former Facebook employee.
Haugen worked at Google and other tech companies prior to joining Facebook in 2019.
She noted that a fractured friendship over internet conspiracy theories fueled her desire to combat misinformation on the social media platform.
"The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart and causing ethnic violence around the world," Haugen pointed out, before adding that "no one at Facebook is malevolent."
She said that although CEO Mark Zuckerberg may have never envisioned Facebook becoming a "hateful platform" there can be deadly consequences, particularly in societies newly exposed to the internet, like Myanmar.
Internal Facebook documents have been supplied to both the media and law enforcement. Materials obtained from Haugen by the Wall Street Journal laid the groundwork for "The Facebook Files."
The scathing report cited Facebook's own vulnerability research, which consistently identified known ill effects, as well as the platform's failure to fix them.
"Time and again, despite congressional hearings, its own pledges and numerous media exposés, the company didn’t fix them," the investigative piece details.
Haugen will testify before US lawmakers on Tuesday to discuss the company's use of algorithms, particularly covering the events surrounding the time of the deadly January 6 riot at the US Capitol.
The hearing is entitled: “Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower.”