Facebook whistleblower reveals identification, says company ‘chooses profits over security’

Internal paperwork printed by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) not too long ago revealed that Facebook allowed VIPs to break its rules and that it was conscious of how Instagram affected the psychological well being of teenagers. Now, the whistleblower who introduced that info to gentle has revealed herself as Frances Haugen in an interview with 60 Minutes, the New York Times has reported.

“I’ve seen a bunch of social networks and it was substantially worse at Facebook than what I had seen before,” Haugen advised 60 Minutes. “Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety.” 

Haugen joined Facebook in 2019, engaged on democracy and misinformation points, whereas additionally dealing with counterespionage, based on a personal website and Twitter account she and her group arrange. She labored as a Facebook product supervisor and left the company in May. 

She first introduced “tens of thousands” of pages of inside Facebook paperwork to Whistleblower Aid founder John Tye, requesting authorized safety and assist in releasing the knowledge. The trove included inside company analysis, slide decks, cowl letters and extra. She additionally filed a whistleblower criticism with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), accusing Facebook of taking inside actions that did not match its public statements. 

In the SEC criticism, Haugen in contrast Facebook’s inside analysis and paperwork to public statements and disclosures made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg and different executives. In one instance, she mentioned that Facebook contributed to election misinformation and the January sixth US Capitol rebel. 

“Facebook has publicized its work to combat misinformation and violent extremism relating to the 2020 election and insurrection,” she wrote in a canopy letter on the topic. ” In reality, Facebook knew its algorithms and platforms promoted this type of harmful content, and it failed to deploy internally recommended or lasting countermeasures.”

The web site permits divisive content material as a result of it promotes engagement, she famous. “Its own research is showing that content that is hateful, that is divisive, that is polarizing, it’s easier to inspire people to anger than it is to other emotions,” Haugen told 60 Minutes. “Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, they’ll click on less ads, they’ll make less money.”

On prime of being in contact with the SEC’s whistleblower workplace, which usually gives protections for company tipsters, she and her authorized group contacted Senators Richard Blumenthal (D) and Marsha Blackburn (R). She additionally spoke to lawmakers in France and Britain, together with a member of the European parliament. 

Facebook, which has struggled to quell leaks of late, preemptively pushed again forward of the 60 Minutes interview, calling the accusations “misleading.” VP for coverage and world affairs Nick Clegg advised CNN that Facebook represented “the good, the bad and the ugly of humanity” and that it was making an attempt to “mitigate the bad, reduce it and amplify the good.” He added that it was “ludicrous” accountable January sixth on social media.

In an announcement to Engadget, Facebook spokesperson Lena Pietsch mentioned the “segment also disregards the significant investments we make to keep people safe on our platform… to suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true.” The company additionally pushed again in opposition to any claims it was deceptive the general public or regulators. “We stand by our public statements and are ready to answer any questions regulators may have about our work.”

In the tip, Haugen mentioned she desires to assist repair Facebook, not see it taken down. “The path forward is about transparency and governance,” she said in the video. “It’s not about breaking up Facebook.” Haugen is ready to testify in Congress about points surrounding Facebook’s impression on younger customers on Tuesday, December fifth. 

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