Washington: A Facebook whistleblower has accused the social media giant of putting “astronomical profits before people” and called for politicians to rein in the power of big tech in damning testimony before the US Congress.
Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, recently shared a trove of thousands of pages of internal company documents with The Wall Street Journal, including research showing Facebook knew its sister site Instagram was intensifying body image and mental health issues among young girls.
Other documents showed that Facebook had failed to crack down on drug cartels and human traffickers.
“I am here today because I believe Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy,” Haugen told the Senate Commerce Committee.
“The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed. They won’t solve this crisis without your help.”
Haugen, who left Facebook in May, continued: “The choices being made inside of Facebook are disastrous for our children, for our public safety, for privacy and for our democracy. And that is why we must demand Facebook changes.”
She said that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg ruled the company “unilaterally” and needed more limits on his power.
“The buck stops with Mark” she said. “There is no one currently holding Mark accountable but himself.”