Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has just made several bombshell accusations against the social media giant. She revealed her identity on national television during an interview on 60 Minutes and described how Facebook is promoting negative content for profit.
Haugen was a product manager at Facebook working on the Civic Integrity group. She left the company in 2021 after dissolving the group because she didn’t “trust that they’re willing to invest what actually needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous”.
After leaving the company, she also exposed a cache of internal research at Facebook to the Securities and Exchange Commission of the US in hopes of helping improve the company. She said that she had worked at a number of companies including Google and Pinterest, but Facebook had it “substantially worse” because of the company’s desire to put profits before user welfare.
There was conflict… between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook and Facebook chose over and over again to optimize for its own interests — like making more money.
She said that one of the company’s internal documents detailed how they only work on 3-5% of hate speech and less than 0.6% of violent content on Facebook despite being the best in the world for the job.
According to Haugen, the root of all these problems lies with the algorithms rolled out in 2018 that control what you see on Facebook. She claims that these algorithms are meant to drive engagement and the company has found that the best kind of engagement is promoting hate and fear in users.
Its easier to inspire people to anger than it is to other emotions.
She ended the interview after calling for more effective regulations against big companies. She is now scheduled to appear before a Senate Commerce tomorrow.
Here is the full interview.