“On Facebook, I kept seeing that there was a conflict of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,” she told CBS interviewer Scott Pelley. “And Facebook has always decided to optimize for its own interests.”
Haugen, 37, was described in “60 Minutes” as a data scientist from Iowa who joined Facebook in 2019. Your decision to submit a plethora of internal documents on corporate research and projects to Congress and the media has withdrawn. the curtain on its practices at a time when Facebook has been criticized for not being transparent about a wide variety of platform issues, from child safety to Covid misinformation, online advertising and algorithmic decision-making.
The whistleblower’s disclosures represent one of the biggest threats to Facebook since the Cambridge Analytica data scandal in 2018. Close observers say the bipartisan anger over the company’s behavior this time around could be deep enough for Washington legislators to take action against Facebook and other apps that target children.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) And Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Chair and Senior Member of the Senate Commerce Consumer Protection Panel, issued a statement Sunday evening to preview this week’s hearing, titled “Protecting Children Online: Statement from a Facebook Whistleblower.” They said Haugen provided information to their offices and worked with them.
“The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing apart our societies and causing ethnic violence all over the world,” said Haugen Pelley in the “60 Minutes” interview. She said she started copying and removing documents from Facebook earlier this year; some of the material first appeared in the Wall Street Journal prior to her television interview.
Haugen said Facebook “optimizes” content that provokes a response. She also said the company understands that hateful content is more likely than more pleasant material to do so.
“His own research shows that content that is hateful, divides, polarizes – it is easier to inspire anger than to inspire other emotions,” said Haugen.
Last week, Facebook stopped plans for a kid-friendly version of his Instagram app.