CyberNews Briefs

Facebook Whistleblower to Testify Before Senate

Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old former Facebook employee and data scientist from Iowa is set to appear before a US Senate subcommittee after blowing the whistle on Facebook’s alleged prioritization of profit over user protection and welfare. Haugen revealed yesterday that she leaked internal research conducted by Facebook to the Wall Street Journal. The research sparked an investigative series titled the Facebook Files, in which the Wall Street Journal sought to uncover information pertaining to Facebook cover-ups. The newspaper claims that Facebook identified negative effects that the platform was having on its users, however, they did not take any action to fix the problems. Furthermore, the Wall Street Journal found that Facebook allowed certain high-profile users to post content including harassment and incitement to violence despite claiming to treat all users equally.

Haugen has held positions at Google, Yelp, and Pinterest prior to working at Facebook for two years on the civic misinformation team. Haugen copied a trove of internal company memos and documents before quitting her job in May. Haugen alleges that the situation at Facebook was substantially worse than any of the social networks she had either interacted with or worked for in the past. Haugen stated that Facebook had significant conflicts of interest between what was beneficial to the public and what benefitted Facebook. She claims that Facebook was motivated by financial interests and repeatedly chose that over the best interest of its customers. Two members of the European Parliament have called for an investigation to be launched into the social media company as well.

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