Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen told a Senate panel Tuesday that Congress must intervene to solve the “crisis” created by her former employer’s products.
The former Facebook product manager for civic misinformation told lawmakers that Facebook’s algorithm could steer young users from something relatively innocuous like healthy recipes to content promoting anorexia in a short period of time. Though she stopped short of accusing top executives of intentionally creating harmful products, she said that ultimately, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to be responsible for the impact of his business.
Haugen, who unmasked herself Sunday as the source behind leaked documents at the core of a revealing Wall Street Journal series about Facebook, testified before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection. Haugen told “60 Minutes” in an interview aired this weekend that the problems she saw at Facebook were worse than anywhere else she’d worked, which includes Google, Yelp and Pinterest. She told the news program that she copied tens of thousands of pages of internal research that she took with her when she left Facebook in May.
“I saw that Facebook repeatedly encountered conflicts between its own profits and our safety,” Haugen said in her written testimony. “Facebook consistently resolved those conflicts in favor of its own profits. The result has been a system that amplifies division, extremism and polarization — and undermining societies around the world.”