The Facebook whistleblower revealed her identity last night along with her plans to reform the embattled social media company from the outside. Frances Haugen, a data scientist by training and a veteran of Google and Pinterest, had been recruited to Facebook in 2018 to help the platform prepare for election interference. When she quit in May, she took with her a cache of tens of thousands of documents that now underpin a sweeping congressional investigation into Facebook’s practices.
But Haugen’s turning point came months earlier, on December 2, 2020, less than a month after the presidential election, when the company disbanded the Civic Integrity team she worked on.
“They told us, ‘We’re dissolving Civic Integrity.’ Like, they basically said, ‘Oh good, we made it through the election. There wasn’t riots. We can get rid of Civic Integrity now.’ Fast forward a couple months, we got the insurrection,” Haugen told CBS’s 60 Minutes, referring to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. “And when they got rid of Civic Integrity, it was the moment where I was like, ‘I don’t trust that they’re willing to actually invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous.’”
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