Facebook whistleblower says company engaged in ‘betrayal of democracy’


A former Fb worker who’s sounding the alarm concerning the corporate’s practices mentioned the platform engaged in a “betrayal of democracy” when it scaled again anti-misinformation efforts following the 2020 presidential election.

Frances Haugen, who give up her job at Fb in Could, advised CBS’s Scott Pelley throughout an interview on “60 Minutes,” which aired on Sunday, that the corporate carried out security techniques forward of the 2020 election in an effort to cut back misinformation, however a lot of them ended up being non permanent.

She mentioned the corporate in the end prioritized development over security.

“And as quickly because the election was over, they turned them again off or they modified the settings again to what they had been earlier than, to prioritize development over security. And that basically looks like a betrayal of democracy to me,” Haugen advised Pelley.

An inside Fb activity pressure reportedly discovered that the firm didn’t take correct motion in opposition to customers utilizing the platform to coordinate the Cease the Steal rally that was an rebel on the Capitol on Jan. 6. 

The revelation of Haugen’s id and her explosive interview with “60 Minutes” comes after The Wall Avenue Journal printed a bombshell report final month detailing the tech big’s response to numerous points together with anti-COVID-19 vaccine rhetoric, the impact of Instagram on youthful customers and inside issues over human traffickers and drug cartels utilizing the platform.

Fb has since pushed back on the newspaper’s reporting, mentioned it “contained deliberate mischaracterizations of what we are attempting to do, and conferred egregiously false motives to Fb’s management and workers.”

The five-part sequence was based mostly on inside paperwork supplied by Haugen. She covertly copied tens of 1000’s of pages of the corporate’s inside analysis earlier than leaving her publish.

Haugen, 37, is an information scientist with a level in pc engineering and a grasp’s diploma in enterprise from Harvard. She has labored for firms together with Google and Pintrest for 15 years.

Haugen filed complaints in opposition to Fb with federal regulation enforcement final month. 

She advised Pelley that Fb “chooses revenue over security,” arguing that the corporate is “paying for its income with our security.”

She mentioned the model of the corporate that exists right this moment, 17 years after its founding, is “tearing our societies aside and inflicting ethnic violence all over the world.”


Haugen mentioned Fb’s fundamental downside harkens again to a change the corporate made to its algorithm in 2018, which she mentioned determines content material the person sees based mostly on what is going to obtain probably the most engagement or spark the strongest response.

In response to analysis, nevertheless, that kind of content material is usually hateful, divisive and polarizing, Haugen mentioned.

“It is simpler to encourage individuals to anger than it’s to different feelings,” Haugen mentioned. She added that offended content material is “very engaging” and retains customers glued to the platform.

“Fb has realized that if they alter the algorithm to be safer, individuals will spend much less time on the positioning, they will click on on much less adverts, they will make much less cash,” she mentioned.

Haugen is scheduled to testify earlier than a Senate subcommittee on client safety Tuesday as a part of a listening to titled “Defending Youngsters On-line: Testimony from a Fb Whistleblower.”

Fb declined to be interviewed for the “60 Minutes” piece, however advised the present in a written assertion that its groups are working to “stability defending the best of billions of individuals to precise themselves brazenly with the necessity to maintain our platform a secure and optimistic place.”

“We proceed to make vital enhancements to sort out the unfold of misinformation and dangerous content material. To recommend we encourage dangerous content material and do nothing is simply not true. If any analysis had recognized a precise resolution to those complicated challenges, the tech trade, governments, and society would have solved them a very long time in the past,” Liena Pietsch, Fb’s director of coverage communications, added within the assertion.

The Hill reached out to Fb for remark. | Fb whistleblower says firm engaged in ‘betrayal of democracy’

Huynh Nguyen

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