With Facebook under fire after this Wall Street Journal article, now seems like the right time to look at what happened next. Previously, we have published an article on the contents of the documents leaked by the Facebook whistleblower, which you can find here.
Who is the whistleblower?
On Sunday, October 3rd, the Facebook whistleblower responsible for the leaked documents revealed her identity. Her name is Frances Haugen, and she was a former product manager working for Facebook. She revealed her identity ahead of an interview on “60 Minutes” which aired on Sunday night. Haugen revealed on her personal website that she “became increasingly alarmed by the choices the company makes prioritizing their own profits over public safety — putting people’s lives at risk. As a last resort and at great personal risk, Frances made the courageous act to blow the whistle on Facebook.”
According to her Linkedin profile, Haugen has had the experience of working at Yelp, Google, and Pinterest, among others. Haugen says that Facebook is aware, and is actively trying to hide evidence relating to how their apps are used for hate speech, violence, and misinformation.
Several hours after the interview, Facebook spokesperson Lena Pietsch released a statement in response to the article. Pietsch states that the statement is to supplement several “missing facts” from the interview. She also mentions that the interview did not accurately represent the research Facebook is doing to improve its products.
Haugen believes that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did not intend to create a platform used for hate, but he has allowed certain choices to be made which lead to where we are today. This eventually led to her releasing the documents, totaling more than ten thousand pages.
Haugen also believes that the company is not inherently malevolent, that they simply have misaligned incentives. She hopes that this leak would have a big enough impact to eventually lead to regulations put in place preventing these issues.
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