Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will appear before the U.S. Congress Tuesday, where she is set to sharply criticize her former employer as “one of the most urgent threats” facing the country, and to demand transparency about its operations in order to better regulate it.
Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, says the social media giant keeps its algorithms and operations a secret.
She said in written testimony prepared for the hearing.”The core of the issue is that no one can understand Facebook’s destructive choices better than Facebook, because only Facebook gets to look under the hood”.
“On this foundation, we can build sensible rules and standards to address consumer harms, illegal content, data protection, anticompetitive practices, algorithmic systems and more.”Haugen will tell the panel that Facebook executives regularly choose profits over user safety.
“A critical starting point for effective regulation is transparency,” she said in testimony to be delivered to a Senate Commerce subcommittee.
“The company’s leadership knows ways to make Facebook and Instagram safer and won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their immense profits before people,” she will say. “It is accountable to no one.”
The Journal’s stories showed the company contributed to increased polarization online when it made changes to its content algorithm; failed to take steps to reduce vaccine hesitancy; and was aware that Instagram harmed the mental health of teenage girls.
Haugen said Facebook had also done too little to prevent its platform from being used by people planning violence.
Haugen came forward this week to reveal she was the one who provided documents used in a Wall Street Journal investigation and a Senate hearing on Instagram’s harm to teen girls.Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
Facebook was used by people planning mass killings in Myanmar and the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump, determined to toss out the 2020 election results.