Who is Frances Haugen, Facebook whistleblower?

Frances Haugen has been testifying Tuesday.

Here’s what you need to know about the former Facebook employee taking centre stage Tuesday.

Who is she?

The 37-year-old unveiled herself on Sunday as the person behind a series of surprise leaks of internal Facebook documents.

Haugen told CBS News she had left Facebook earlier this year after becoming exasperated with the company.

Why?

She was a product manager on the civic integrity team until it was disbanded a month after the 2020 presidential election.

“Like, they basically said, ‘Oh good, we made it through the election…We can get rid of Civic Integrity now.’ Fast forward a couple months, we got the insurrection.”

Facebook’s Integrity chief has since contested this, saying it wasn’t disbanded but “integrated into a larger Central Integrity team”.

What did she do?

Before she left the company, Haugen copied a series of internal memos and documents.

She has shared them with the Wall Street Journal, which has been releasing the material in batches over the last three weeks – sometimes referred to as the Facebook Files.

Haugen says these documents prove the tech giant repeatedly prioritised “growth over safety”.

What have we heard so far?
Profits over people

If there is an overall theme so far – this is it.

According to Haugen, Facebook routinely resolves conflicts between its bottom line and the safety of its users in favour of its profits.

“The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people,” she says.

The buck stops with Zuck

Throughout her remarks, Haugen has made clear that Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has wide-ranging oversight of his company and maintains ultimate control of all key decisions.

“The buck stops with Mark,” she says. “There is no one currently holding Mark accountable but himself.”

Teen girls targeted

Senators have devoted much of their time to the harm posed by Facebook and Instagram to young people, especially teenage girls.

Several have pointed to research that suggests both sites worsen teens’ body image and promote eating disorders.

Lawmakers cited Facebook’s own data, published by the Wall Street Journal last month, which found that 32% of teen girls said that when they feel bad about their bodies, Instagram makes them feel worse.

Source: Graphic Online