She’s the most important thorn in Mark Zuckerberg’s facet.
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen publicly revealed her identification on Sunday, accusing her former employer of pushing divisive content material for revenue and overlaying up proof that the tech big’s merchandise trigger hurt.
“Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money,” Haugen stated in a bombshell “60 Minutes” interview.
After leaving her job at Facebook in May, 37-year-old Haugen leaked a trove of inside Facebook paperwork to the Wall Street Journal, which used them to publish a collection of damning stories final month. Haugen additionally despatched the paperwork to lawmakers and filed for whistleblower safety with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
One Journal report, about how Facebook’s personal analysis exhibits Instagram hurts teen women, prompted a Senate Commerce shopper safety subcommittee listening to final week, the place Senators slammed Facebook’s security chief for failing to guard kids.
Haugen is ready to testify in entrance of the Senate committee herself on Tuesday, the place she’s going to elaborate on the paperwork and speak about why she believes the federal government must crack down on Facebook, which is already going through a landmark antitrust case from the Federal Trade Commission.
So who’s the lady who’s prompted what stands out as the greatest disaster in Facebook’s 17-year historical past?
A giant tech insider
Originally from Iowa, Haugen graduated with levels in electrical and pc engineering from the Olin College of Engineering outdoors Boston in 2006. Her first job out of faculty was at Google, in line with her LinkedIn profile, the place she helped design algorithms for Google Books. She additionally labored on Google+, the corporate’s ill-fated Facebook competitor.
In 2009, Google paid for Haugen to get a administration diploma from Harvard Business School. While at Harvard, she co-founded Secret Agent Cupid in 2010, a courting website that finally turned Hinge, in line with her LinkedIn.
In 2014, Haugen left her job at Google. Shortly afterward, she landed within the ICU with a blood clot in her thigh, the Journal reported.
While Haugen was recovering from the clot, she employed a household buddy to assist her with chores and errands. The buddy additionally received sucked into on-line white nationalist and occult boards, and their friendship finally deteriorated.
“It’s one thing to study misinformation, it’s another to lose someone to it,” Haugen instructed the Journal. “A lot of people who work on these products only see the positive side of things.”
In 2015, Haugen joined Yelp, the place she labored on the app’s photograph algorithms and launched an integration deal between Yelp and Twitter. The following yr, she left Yelp for Pinterest, the place she additionally labored on algorithms, in line with her LinkedIn. She left Pinterest in January 2018.
In late 2018, a Facebook recruiter contacted Haugen a few potential job, in line with the Journal. She instructed the corporate about her expertise shedding a buddy to conspiracy theories and stated she needed to work stopping the unfold of misinformation.
Haugen joined Facebook in June 2019, the place she reportedly labored on the corporate’s 200-person “civic integrity” division, in line with the Journal. She and 4 different new hires have been tasked with constructing a system to trace misinformation focused at particular teams of individuals in simply three months.
The undertaking failed as a result of insufficient assets, Haugen stated. She noticed that different civic integrity groups have been additionally understaffed, together with the teams chargeable for monitoring slavery, intercourse trafficking and organ promoting, in line with the Journal.
She reportedly noticed that Facebook resisted including any security measures that would cut back the period of time folks spent on the corporate’s platforms.
“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 stated on 60 Minutes.
Shortly after the 2020 US Presidential election, the founding father of and head of the civic integrity workforce, Samidh Chakrabarti, instructed employees he was taking a go away of absence and that Facebook was dissolving the civic integrity workforce by shifting its employees into different divisions, Haugen instructed the Journal.
That identical day, Haugen allegedly started speaking to a Journal reporter by way of an encrypted messaging app.
In March 2021, Haugen reportedly left her dwelling in California to dwell in Puerto Rico, the place she anticipated to work for Facebook remotely.
Meanwhile, she learn by way of and copied paperwork on Facebook’s inside doc system, referred to as “Workplace.” Those paperwork included the research on misinformation, trafficking and different dangerous content material that finally have been revealed by the Journal.
At the identical time, Facebook’s human assets division reportedly instructed Haugen she wasn’t allowed to work from a US territory. In April, she stated she would give up the following month, in line with the Journal.
Facebook reportedly tracks what materials workers entry on Workplace, so Haugen was afraid of being caught. But she was reportedly in a position to collect materials up till the second her entry was taken away on her final day.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of the Senate Commerce shopper safety subcommittee has stated that extra of the leaked materials will likely be detailed when Haugen testifies on Tuesday.
Haugen didn’t reply to a number of requests for remark.
Asked for touch upon Haugen’s statements and upcoming senate testimony, Facebook spokesman Andy Stone emailed The Post a press release from Lena Pietsch, Facebook’s director of coverage communications.
“Our teams have to balance protecting the ability of billions of people to express themselves openly with the need to keep our platform a safe and positive place,” stated Pietsch. “We continue to make significant improvements to tackle the spread of misinformation and harmful content. To suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true.”
Pietsch additionally stated Facebook has spent $13 billion since 2016 on safety and security since 2016 and at the moment has 40,000 folks engaged on the difficulty.
“Protecting our community is more important than maximizing our profits,” stated Pietsch.