Whistle-Blower Says Facebook ‘Chooses Profits Over Safety’

Private discussion

Frances Haugen, a Facebook product manager who left the company in May, claimed that she
had provided internal documents to prove that Facebook chooses profits over safety.

She contacted John Tye, the founder of Whistleblower Aid, a legal nonprofit representing people seeking to expose potential lawbreaking companies or individuals.

The woman who worked for nearly two years on the civic misinformation team at the social network told Mr Tye and his team something intriguing: She had access to tens of thousands of pages of internal documents from the world’s largest social network. In a series of calls, she asked for legal protections and a path to releasing the confidential information. Mr Tye, who said he understood the gravity of what the woman brought “within a few minutes,” agreed to represent her and call her by the alias “Sean.”

She “is a very courageous person and is taking a personal risk to hold a trillion-dollar company accountable,” he said.

In an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday, Ms Haugen, 37, said she “had grown alarmed by what she saw at Facebook, such as spreading misinformation, the impact its products have on teenagers’ mental health, material misrepresentations and omissions in statements to investors and prospective investors. The company repeatedly put its interests first rather than the public’s interest,” she added.

To expose how much Facebook knew about the harms that it was causing, she copied pages of Facebook’s internal research. She decided to do something about it by providing the evidence to lawmakers, regulators and the news media.

“I’ve seen a bunch of social networks, and it was substantially worse at Facebook than what I had seen before,” Ms Haugen said. She added, “Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety.”

Mr Zuckerberg and other top Facebook executives have publicized its work to combat misinformation and violent extremism, In reality, Facebook knew its platforms promoted this type of harmful content, and it failed to deploy internally recommended or lasting countermeasures.”

After filing S.E.C. (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission) complaint, Ms Haugen and her legal team contacted lawmakers. In May, they held a hearing about protecting children online, focusing on how companies like Facebook were collecting data through apps like Instagram.

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