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5 Oct 2021

Whistle-Blower will Share in the Senate about “Frightening Truth” of Facebook Users’ Security

The Index Today

The Facebook Inc. whistle-blower is set to share her story publicly in Congress on Tuesday. This whistle-blower already turned over internal company documents to U.S. securities regulators and planning to testify that the company misled the public and shareholders about the harmful effects of its platforms.

Frances Haugen said in remarks prepared for a U.S. Senate hearing, “Facebook became a $1 trillion company by paying for its profits with our safety, including the safety of our children.” “I came forward because I recognized a frightening truth: almost no one outside of Facebook knows what happens inside Facebook. The company’s leadership keeps vital information from the public, the U.S. government, its shareholders, and governments around the world.”

The hearing comes the day after Facebook and its photo-sharing platform Instagram and messaging service WhatsApp experienced rare global outages, and two days after Haugen revealed her identity in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday evening. The company’s shares fell 4.9% Monday, the most since November.

Haugen, 37, a former product manager at the company, will appear before a panel of the Senate Commerce Committee to testify about internal Facebook research that she says shows the company prioritized profit, stoking division, undermining democracy and harming the mental-health of its youngest users. Haugen shared Facebook’s internal research with the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the Wall Street Journal.

Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, chair of the subcommittee holding the hearing, on Sunday praised Haugen’s “bravery in revealing terrible truths about one of the world’s most powerful, implacable corporate giants.”

Blumenthal said in a statement, “Facebook’s actions make clear that we cannot trust it to police itself, we must consider stronger oversight, effective protections for children, and tools for parents, among the needed reforms.”

According to the Bloomberg news, the question for lawmakers now is how to craft and pass legislation to prevent the harm Haugen described. While there are numerous proposals to tighten security regulations on internet companies, there has been little momentum so far to move bills through the process to become law.

©Photo: Doug Chayka

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