The whistleblower behind the leak of an extensive number of leaked Facebook documents to the Wall Street Journal is finally under the spotlight. She accused the social media giant of repeatedly prioritizing profit over hate speech and misinformation control. She also said that her lawyers had filed at least eight complaints with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Frances Haugen, a product manager on the civic misinformation team on Facebook, appeared on Sunday on the TV program “60 Minutes,” revealing her identity. Haugen described Facebook as a company committed to product optimization that it embraced algorithms that amplify hate speech.
Facebook wants profits
Frances Haugen decided to leave her position at Facebook as a product manager in 2021 after Facebook dissolved her team. She said that she didn’t “trust that they’re willing to invest what needs to be invested in keeping Facebook from being dangerous.”
“There was conflict… between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook.”
She noted that she had previously worked at a number of companies, but Facebook was worse than all of them. To clarify, Facebook’s dire situation was due to its desire to put profits over its users. “Facebook over and over again chose to optimize for its interests, like making more money,” Haugen told Scott Pelley.
Moreover, the internal documents that she leaked included research that Instagram harmed the mental health of teens. Facebook denied all the allegations and disputed the claims made by the leaks. Further, the social media giant went around pointing out things that showed the app’s positive impact on teens.
Frances Haugen will testify before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday in a hearing. The hearing is titled “Protecting Kids Online,” which is about the company’s research into Instagram’s effect on teens.