Simply who’s Frances Haugen?
For weeks, the onetime Facebook product supervisor made waves whereas behind the scenes. After amassing 1000’s of pages of Facebook paperwork whereas working on the firm, she had shared the trove with The Wall Avenue Journal, lawmakers and regulators, resulting in revelations that the social community knew about lots of the harms it was inflicting.
Ms. Haugen solely revealed herself on Sunday night time. That was when she went on “60 Minutes,” began tweeting, revealed a personal website, began a GoFundMe and introduced a European tour to talk with lawmakers and regulators. The transfer was timed forward of a congressional listening to on Tuesday, when Ms. Haugen is ready to testify in individual on Facebook’s impression on younger folks.
Particulars about Ms. Haugen, 37, have since spilled out. A local of Iowa Metropolis, Iowa, she studied electrical and laptop engineering at Olin Faculty and received an M.B.A. from Harvard. She then labored at numerous Silicon Valley corporations, together with Google, Pinterest and Yelp.
In June 2019, she joined Facebook. There, she dealt with democracy and misinformation points, in addition to engaged on counterespionage as a part of the civic misinformation group, in accordance with her private web site.
She left Facebook in Could, however not earlier than exfiltrating 1000’s of pages of inside analysis and paperwork. These paperwork have shaped the idea of a sequence of Journal articles and a whistle-blower criticism that she and her attorneys have filed with the Securities and Alternate Fee.
Regardless of her seemingly adversarial place, Ms. Haugen has stated she doesn’t hate Facebook and simply needs to enhance it.
“We are able to have social media that brings out the most effective in humanity,” she stated on her web site.
Whereas she shared among the firm paperwork with members of Congress and the workplaces of at the very least 5 attorneys basic, Ms. Haugen determined to not present them to the Federal Commerce Fee, which has filed an antitrust go well with towards Facebook. She has stated she doesn’t consider that antitrust enforcement is the best way to resolve the corporate’s issues.
“The path ahead is about transparency and governance,” she stated in a video on her GoFundMe web page. “It’s not about breaking apart Facebook.”
In ready remarks for the listening to on Tuesday, which have been launched forward of time, Ms. Haugen additionally likened Facebook to tobacco corporations and automakers earlier than the federal government stepped in with laws for cigarettes and seatbelt legal guidelines.
“Congress can change the principles Facebook performs by and cease the hurt it’s inflicting,” she stated.