Recently, a whistleblower released Facebook documents detailing that the social media giant was aware that Instagram was toxic to young women but still chose profit over safety. Now, the whistleblower has revealed her identity: she is called Frances Haugen and has joined Facebook in 2019. She has revealed herself and her position in an interview with 60 minutes, reports Engadget.
Whistleblower Frances Haugen says Facebook chooses profit over safety
In her interview with 60 Minutes, she said that she’s seen a lot of social networking sites and that Facebook has it substantially worse than them.
Apparently, she has joined the company back in 2019, and she was working on democracy and misinformation issues, and also handled counterespionage, according to her personal website. She worked as a Facebook product manager, then she left the social media giant in May.
Firstly, she disclosed a lot of pages from internal Facebook documents to Whistleblower Aid founder John Tye and requested legal protection and help in making the information available. What she released included internal company research, slide decks, cover letters, and more. She also accused Facebook of taking internal actions that didn’t correspond to what the company claimed publicly.
In the complaint she filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), she compared Facebook’s internal documents and research to public statements made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook officials. One of the examples she gave was the fact that Facebook contributed to election misinformation and the January 6th Capitol insurrection.
She highlighted that despite Facebook claiming it is working to combat misinformation related to the aforementioned situation, in reality, Facebook knew that its algorithms promoted the harmful content and failed to deploy countermeasures that lasted.
Frances Haugen from the interview with 60 Minutes
The divisive content is promoted become it helps engagement with the platform, according to the whistleblower, and she had Facebook’s own research showing how hateful, divisive, and polarizing content inspires people to anger. If Facebook would to change the algorithm, it would mean people will spend less time on Facebook, and thus, less money from ads will be made for the social media giant.
Haugen said that her goal is not to take down Facebook, but to help fix it. She will testify in Congress about the impact Facebook has on young users on Tuesday, December 5th.