Facebook whistleblower reveals identity, says company ‘chooses profits over safety’ – TechCrunch

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), in internal documents, recently revealed that Facebook allowed its VIPs to violate its rules and that they were aware of the negative effects Instagram had on teens' mental health. Frances Haugen, the whistleblower, has now spoken out in an interview with 60 Minutes.
Haugen said that he had seen many social networks, and Facebook was far worse than any of them. Facebook has repeatedly shown that it prefers safety over profit.

According to her personal website and Twitter account, Haugen joined Facebook in 2019 and worked on democracy and misinformation, as well as counterespionage. She was a Facebook product manager before she left in May.

John Tye, Whistleblower Aid founder, was first contacted by her to request legal protection and assistance in releasing tens of thousands pages of Facebook documents. This trove contained internal company research, slide decks and cover letters, as well as other documents. The whistleblower complaint was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. She accused Facebook of internal actions that were not consistent with its public statements.

Frances Haugen, a whistleblower from Iowa, is a data scientist with a Harvard MBA and a degree in computer engineering. Because of a loss to online conspiracies, she said that the only job she wanted was to fight misinformation on Facebook. https://t.co/csgaRe6k5h pic.twitter.com/tSNav057As 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 3, 2021

Haugen, in her SEC complaint, compared Facebook's internal research and documents with public statements and disclosures made publicly by Mark Zuckerberg and other executives. She stated that Facebook was responsible for election misinformation and the January 6th US Capitol Insurrection.

In a letter to the subject, she stated that Facebook had made public its efforts to combat misinformation as well as violent extremism in relation to the 2020 election. Facebook knew that its platforms and algorithms promoted harmful content and failed to implement any internal recommendations or long-lasting countermeasures.

She noted that the site allows divisive content as it encourages engagement. 60 Minutes learned that hateful content, which is divisive and polarizing, is more likely to incite anger than other emotions. Facebook realized that changing the algorithm to make it safer will result in people spending less time on the site, clicking on fewer ads and making less money.

She was also in touch with SECs whistleblower agency, which usually provides protections to corporate tipters. She and her legal team also contacted Senators Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn (R). She spoke with lawmakers in France, Britain and the European Parliament.

Facebook, which has been struggling to stop leaks, preemptively rebuffed the 60 Minutes interview by calling the accusations misleading.

Lena Pietsch, a spokesperson for Facebook, stated that the segment does not consider the large investments made to protect users on the platform. She also denied any claims that it misled regulators or the public. We stand behind our public statements and are available to answer any questions regulators might have about our work.

Haugen stated that she wanted to fix Facebook and not have it removed. In the video, she stated that transparency and governance are key to moving forward. It's not about breaking down Facebook. Haugen will testify before Congress on Tuesday, December 5, about Facebook's impact on young people.

Editor's Note: This article first appeared on Engadget.