A former Facebook data scientist, Frances Haugen, stunned representatives and the public with revelations of the awareness of apparent harm of the firm to some teens from Instagram. Her allegations of dishonesty in its fight against misinformation and hate. Now, the former employee is coming before Congress.
She has come forward with a sharp condemnation of the social media giant, bolstered with tens of thousands of pages of internal research papers she secretly copied before quitting in the civic integrity unit of the company. She also filed a lawsuit with federal officials alleging that her own research of the firm reveals that it amplifies misinformation, political interest, and hate, but Facebook hides what it knows.
After the latest reports in The Wall Street Journal based on papers she leaked to the newspaper raised a public uproar, she exposed her identity in an interview on the CBS News show “60 Minutes,” which aired Sunday night. Haugen insisted that the social media platform showed it chooses profit over the safety of users.
The former employee challenging Facebook with 2.8 billion users globally and approximately $1 trillion in market value is a thirty-seven-year-old data expert from Iowa with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and a master’s degree in business from Harvard University. She previously worked for fifteen years before she joined Facebook in 2019 at companies including Pinterest and Google.
Haugen Set to Testify Before the Senate Committee
Haugen is set to appear before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on the issue of consumer protection at a hearing Tuesday. Furthermore, the panel is examining the use of information of the platform from its own researchers in Instagram that might specify possible for some of its young users, especially teen girls, while it publicly downplayed the negative impacts.
The peer pressure generated because of the visually focused Instagram led to body-image problems and mental health for some of the teens devoted to the platform. Additionally, in some cases, it caused suicidal thoughts and eating disorders, according to the leaked research by Haugen.
One internal study mentioned that 13.5 percent of teen girls saying Instagram makes thoughts of suicide worse, and seventeen percent of teen girl users saying it makes eating disorders worse. The senators are keen to hear from Haugen. After the November General elections, Facebook removed the public integrity union where Haugen worked.
On the other side, a huge global outage plunged Instagram, Facebook, and the WhatsApp messaging platform into chaos on Monday. For some of the users, the WhatsApp (Text, Audio, and Video sharing app) was working for a time; for some users, Instagram was working but not Facebook, and so on.