Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is continuing to reveal disturbing information about the social media company she used to work for.
After leaking documents to the Wall Street Journal, alleging that Facebook is actively choosing profits over the best interest of its users, and giving an interview to CBS’ 60 Minutes that detailed how the company is hiding its shortcomings from investors, Haugen appeared before the Senate subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security to expand on her view of how Facebook (and Instagram) is harming young children.
After WSJ reported on the negative side effects that Instagram and Facebook have on young people’s mental health, the Senate decided to launch an investigation into the company’s practices when it comes to protecting its youngest users. Haugen was brought on as a product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team after she witnessed someone close to her become radicalized while spending a lot of time on Facebook. But during her time there, as Haugen told the subcommittee, she saw Facebook’s products “harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy.”
“The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer,” she continued. “But won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people.”
Haugen also addressed the company’s blackout on Monday in her opening statement:
“I don’t know why it went down,” she said. “I know that for more than five hours Facebook wasn’t used to deepen divides, destabilize democracies and make young girls and women feel bad about their bodies.”
She testified before the subcommittee that Facebook needs more regulation if we hope to see its culture change.
“As long as Facebook is operating in the dark, it is accountable to no one,” she said. “We have financial bankruptcy because we value people’s lives more than we value money. Facebook is stuck in a feedback loop they can not get out of. Hiding this information because they feel trapped. They need to admit they did something wrong and they need to help solve these problems. That’s what moral bankruptcy is.”