Frances Haugen has identified herself as the former Facebook employee who leaked tens of thousands of pages of internal documents that have once again put the company on the hotseat. On a lengthy interview with 60 Minutes, the former product manager laid out her case that the company knew its platform spread misinformation, hate and violence, but buried the evidence in order to keep those clicks coming in.
“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,” she said. “And Facebook over and over again chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money.”
“Facebook, over and over again, has shown it chooses profit over safety,” she continued.
Haugen’s leaked documents have led to a number of disastrous headlines for Facebook, proving the company deliberately looked the other way when faced with proof that its algorithm rewarded divisive content and misinformation.
Last week, we wrote about a 2020 report that found 19 of Facebook’s top 20 Christian pages were being run by foreign troll farms that deliberately posted provocative content. It’s not exactly clear how many of those pages remain in operation today, but the report found that Facebook did little to respond to internal concerns that its algorithm was being used to sow chaos.
Haugen says that Facebook’s decision to look the other way contributed to the chain of events that led to the attempted insurrection in Washington D.C. on January 6.