In recent weeks, Facebook has been rocked by a series of reports from The Wall Street Journal revealing that the company has known for years that its platform can be harmful to users. However, the source of these leaked documents has remained mysterious — until now. On Sunday, the previously anonymous Facebook whistleblower revealed herself and gave an interview on 60 Minutes explaining why she chose to reveal the company’s internal practices to the world.
The whistleblower, Frances Haugen, sent “tens of thousands” of internal documents to the SEC and lawmakers, in addition to providing them to the press. According to Haugen, the documents tell the story of a company that has consistently prioritized profit over user safety and privacy at nearly every turn.
“Its own research is showing that content that is hateful, that is divisive, that is polarizing, it’s easier to inspire people to anger than it is to other emotions,” Haugen told 60 Minutes. “Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, they’ll click on less ads, they’ll make less money.”
For its part, Facebook pushed back against the allegations by saying that the report is cherry-picking facts and ignoring the investments that the company has made to improve in these areas. But no matter what Facebook says, it’s clear that Haugen has called attention to major problems with the platform that many experts and users think needs to be addressed.
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