Facebook files: informant identifies herself – and applies for state protection

A series of articles in the Wall Street Journal caused quite a stir. Internal documents prove that Facebook prefers profit to the well-being of users. Now the whistleblower reveals herself.

Facebook had to contend with numerous allegations in the past few weeks. The accusation, the Social group knows about the toxic effects Instagram has, above all, on teenagers. Nevertheless, Facebook would ignore this fact – for more profit. These allegations are based on internal documents submitted to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) for the so-called Facebook Files leaked by a whistleblower.

Whitstleblowerin Frances Haugen, © Frances Haugen/LinkedIn

It is now known who the WSJ’s secret source is: Frances Haugen. The product manager worked for Facebook for around two and a half years and was mainly responsible for preventing manipulation during political elections. She quickly noticed that her team did not have the necessary capacities to cope with this mammoth task. In the US TV format “60 Minutes“Explains Haugen:

The thing I saw at Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook. And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money.

The 37-year-old continues, according to her LinkedIn profiles was already active on Pinterest, Yelp and Google:

I’ve seen a bunch of social networks and it was substantially worse at Facebook than anything I’d seen before.

Whistleblower should ask questions about the Facebook files before the US Congress

The whistleblower explains that she passed the internal documents on to the WSJ in order to change the maladministration on Facebook. She explains that new incentives – not just sales – need to be created for social media companies. In a tweet she writes:

In a public opinion it is therefore said that she does not believe that breaking up Facebook would solve the problem. The public needs to be educated about the system behind the platforms and the basic algorithm needs to be changed. Only then could Social media Apps get social again. The statement is to be supplemented by a hearing in front of the US Congress on Thursday (October 7th, 2021). Haugen already offered to work with official bodies in North America and Europe to find a solution.

Facebook rejects allegations – Haugen applies for state protection

Meanwhile, Facebook also commented on the revelations. After the social group had already tried to make its own study on the toxic effects of Instagram on the body image of teenagers more relative, a larger statement has now followed. The Facebook spokeswoman Lena Pietsch said opposite CBS News:

Every day our teams have to balance protecting the right of billions of people to express themselves openly with the need to keep our platform a safe and positive place. We continue to make significant improvements to tackle the spread of misinformation and harmful content. To suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true.

In other words, Facebook would not act exclusively for profit. Keeping a balance between freedom of expression and the restriction of hate speech is simply difficult, according to Pietsch. However, the fact that a corporation of this size is unable to cope with this task raises questions.

Frances Haugen has now officially applied for protection as a whistleblower from the US authorities.

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