Former Facebook Employee Warns of the Company’s Shady Internal Practices

Gabriel Rooney, Author

Frances Haugen, a former product manager for Facebook, made headlines in October by testifying on the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. 

A Meta owned social media site is something millions of people in the United States access each day. (Gabriel M. Rooney)

Haugen’s main point in her testimony is that the government must take action to regulate Facebook claiming that the company was fully aware of the damages its products have on its users, but has repeatedly focused more on its own profits rather than the wellbeing of its users

She left with internal documents from Facebook, claiming they prove their internal corruption. She made it a point to draw parallels between the situation at hand and precedent of existing industry regulation, saying, “When we realized Big Tobacco was hiding the harms it caused, the government took action” Haugen said during testimony. “When our government learned that opioids were taking lives, the government took action. I implore you to do the same here” she continued.  

She also further claims that Facebookis intentionally operating its internal mechanism in secrecy from the public.  “Facebook’s closed design means it has no oversight…It hides behind walls that keep the eyes of researchers and regulators from understanding…the system,” she explained to the committee.  “Right now, Facebook chooses what information billions of people see, shaping their perception of reality. Even those who don’t use Facebook are impacted by the radicalization of people who do. A company with control over our deepest thoughts, feelings and behaviors needs real oversight”.

In terms of regulation regarding Facebook, “The whole point here is that if someone is watching Facebook and has access to their data, that Facebook will change its behavior knowing that it’s being watched,” said Shannon bond, NPR’s tech correspondent on an NPR podcast.  “Pressure has been building since well before Haugen made these disclosures…So far, they have stalled. The question is, is this moment now, with the whistleblower, what breaks that logjam?” Bond asked.

Plenty of people within the Hall community have an account on at least one of the social media sites owned by the Meta company. (Gabriel M. Rooney)

HallRecord was able to interview 30 students from Hall as well as two adults from the Hall community.Both the adults had social media accounts owned by Facebook as did  the majority of students surveyed. One of the students surveyed reported that they use social media, “To communicate with friends and family and stay up to date with their lives.” In-spite of the generational gap between these age groups, they all seem to use this social media platform for the same reason, to keep in touch with  friends and family. 

“I think [social media] changed my life in a positive way because I can have updates about friends and family,” Ms. Robbin Antonucci, one of Hall’s Special Education teachers, stated in an interview. 

 According to the Statista Research Department Facebook is one of the biggest and most influential companies in the world with at least one of its products being used by billions of people. In the US there are 200 million Facebook users. About 70% of people ages 18-64 use Facebook.