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Facebook whistleblower goes to Congress, after WSJ, ’60 Minutes’ reports on bombshell allegations

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will testify Tuesday on Capitol Hill about her public allegations that the social media giant and former employer put profits over the public good, despite leadership’s assurance the company was working to make the platform safer.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will testify Tuesday on Capitol Hill about her public allegations that the social media giant and former employer put profits over the public good, despite leadership’s assurance the company was working to make the platform safer.

Haugen will testify before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, several days after The Wall Street Journal published a series of reports from documents supplied by Haugen that revealed Facebook’s inner workings and two days after she appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” to discuss her concerns.

“There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,” she said during the interview. “And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money.”

The documents appear to show Facebook knew, based on internal research, that some of its products were harmful to the mental health of some users, particularly teen girls.

“Facebook’s own research says, as these young women begin to consume this eating disorder content, they get more and more depressed,” Haugen said. “And it actually makes them use [Instagram] more.”

She also said Facebook placed profit above the well being of those harmed.

“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,” Haugen said.

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Haugen, a data scientist with a computer engineering degree and a Harvard MBA, acknowledged Facebook took steps to combat misinformation during the 2020 election but said many of those policies were only temporary.

She secretly copied and took tens of thousands of pages of internal research documents before leaving her job in Facebook’s civic integrity unit. Haugen also has filed complaints with federal authorities regarding her allegations about Facebook’s research showing that it amplifies hate, misinformation and political unrest, but the company hides what it knows, the Associated Press reports.

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