Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee turned whistleblower, testified before Congress on Tuesday that lawmakers need to regulate Facebook because its products can harm children and democracy.
“The company’s leadership knows ways to make Facebook and Instagram safer and won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people,” said Haugen, a former Facebook data scientist who has provided reams of internal company records to news organizations and regulators that has led to sharp criticism of the company.
“Congressional action is needed. [Facebook] cannot solve this crisis without your help. … Facebook has not earned our blind faith,” Haugen said during her highly anticipated testimony before the Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security subcommittee.
Haugen, who also aired her allegations Sunday on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” has lodged complaints with federal regulators alleging that the company concealed internal research that shows the platform knowingly amplifies political unrest, misinformation and hate.
Facebook executives have disputed how The Wall Street Journal and other media organizations have characterized the research, and have stated that the company works hard to ensure their platforms are safe and don’t spread misinformation.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat and chairman of the subcommittee, on Tuesday described Haugen as a “compelling” witness. “You’re armed with documents and evidence. You speak volumes, as they do, about how Facebook has put profits ahead of people,” said Blumenthal, who has called on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Haugen’s allegations.
The subcommittee’s ranking Republican, Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, sharply criticized Facebook, insisting its executives “knew what they were doing. They knew what the violations were.” Blackburn said, “It is clear that Facebook prioritizes profits over the well-being of children and (all users).”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: VOX
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