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Frances Haugen, Facebook’s Whistleblower

She’s submitted at least eight complaints to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleging the company misled investors.
Frances Haugen

Frances Haugen

Photographer: Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg

After leaving Facebook in May, Haugen did something that seemed almost impossible: She gave critics of the company even more reason to dislike it. The thousands of internal documents she took revealed new details about how Facebook (now Meta Platforms Inc.) has failed to combat hate speech and political polarization and to curtail its negative impact on users’ mental health. The documentation further showed how employees struggled with Facebook’s impact on society and how necessary changes weren’t initiated because of bureaucracy or the pursuit of profit over public safety. Meta has responded by saying the documents “can in no way be used to draw fair conclusions about us.”

Haugen, who worked at Google and Pinterest Inc. before joining Facebook, brought the papers to Congress and the Wall Street Journal. (They were also obtained by a larger media consortium that includes Bloomberg News.) She revealed her identity to the public on 60 Minutes in early October, just days before answering questions from Congress. Haugen also handed over the documents to regulators, claiming Facebook improperly steered investors regarding user growth and its role perpetuating extremism.