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Whistleblower accuses Facebook of prioritizing profit over public safety

By Shubhangi on Oct 05, 2021 | 05:35 AM IST


Key Points:

·         A Facebook whistleblower revealed identity on the CBS television program “60 Minutes.”

·         The whistleblower aided WSJ in its report on Instagram’s negative impact on mental health of teenagers.

A Facebook Inc whistleblower who aided Wall Street Journal on its report on Instagram’s negative impact on mental health of teenagers revealed herself on Sunday.

Frances Haugen, the former product manager on the civic misinformation team at Facebook, appeared on the CBS television program “60 Minutes” and accused Facebook of prioritizing its own profit over public’s safety.

She wrote 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.”

Her lawyers have also filed at least eight complaints with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Haugen, who has previously worked at Google and Pinterest, is set to testify before a Senate subcommittee on Tuesday regarding Facebook’s research into effect of Instagram on young users.

During the interview, Haugen has said, "There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook over and over again chose to optimize for its own interests like making more money."

Facebook has been in trouble since the Journal published reports based on Facebook’s internal presentations and emails showing that the company has taken no steps despite knowing Instagram’s negative impact on teenagers, especially girls.

Haugen said that Facebook has been lying to the public about working towards clamping down hate speech and misinformation on its platform. She also said that Facebook was used to organize the Capitol riot on January 6.

Facebook later published a statement countering Haugen’s revelations.

"We continue to make significant improvements to tackle the spread of misinformation and harmful content," said Facebook spokesperson Lena Pietsch.

"To suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true."

Picture Credits: Reuters

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