Facebook whistleblower: The company knows it's harming people and the buck stops with Zuckerberg

Frances Haugen, a Facebook whistleblower, told a Senate panel Tuesday she believes Congress should intervene to end the crisis created by her former employer.
Former Facebook product manager for civic information, the former Facebook product manager, said that Facebook's algorithm could quickly turn young users away from seemingly innocuous content like healthy recipes to content encouraging anorexia. She did not accuse top executives of creating harmful products but she stated that CEO Mark Zuckerberg was ultimately responsible for its impact.

Haugen revealed Sunday that she was the source of leaked documents in a Wall Street Journal series about Facebook. She testified before Senate Commerce's subcommittee for consumer protection. In an interview that aired on Saturday, Haugen said that Facebook's problems were worse than any other place she had worked. This includes Yelp, Pinterest, and Google. According to Haugen, she had taken with her tens of thousand of pages of internal research when she quit Facebook in May.

Haugen wrote that she witnessed Facebook encountering conflicts between its profits and safety repeatedly. "Facebook resolved these conflicts consistently in favor of its profits. This has led to a system that encourages division, extremism, and polarization as well as undermining societies all over the globe.

Haugen stated in her prepared remarks that she believed she was doing the right thing by coming forward. However, she acknowledged that Facebook could use its vast resources to "destroy her".

Haugen stated in written remarks that she came forward to reveal a terrifying truth: nearly no one outside Facebook knows what goes on inside Facebook. "The company's leadership keeps vital info from the public, U.S. government and shareholders as well as governments around the globe."

Haugen stated that a pivotal moment that made her realize the importance of sharing information outside of Facebook was the dissolution of the civic integrity group by the company after the 2020 U.S. elections. Facebook claimed that it would incorporate those responsibilities in other areas of the company. Haugen stated that 75% of her "pod", seven people who had mainly come from civic integrity, left the company within six months.

She stated that six months had passed since the reorganization and she had lost all faith in the possibility of those changes.

Although lawmakers called for Facebook to stop its plans to create an Instagram platform to help kids (after it announced a temporary suspension), Haugen said to senators that she would be "sincerely shocked" if Facebook stopped working on the product.

Haugen stated that Facebook understands that they need to keep growing and that they must find new users. He also suggested that it is important to instill good habits in children.