Facebook ‘Whistleblower’ Frances Haugen: What Is Her Motive?
“The version of Facebook that exists today is tearing our societies apart.”
Social media behemoth Facebook has been rocked by a series of Wall Street Journal reports about its internal operations and motives. One of those reports was built on thousands of documents provided by an insider who exposed some of Big Tech’s worst secrets. Facebook stands credibly accused of hiding its own research showing the social media platform “amplifies hate, misinformation, and political unrest,” while its sister site Instagram faces its own charges of harming teenage girls concerned with their bodily image. But the elephant — or should we say donkey — in the room is the issue of social media censorship.
The degree of that censorship reared its ugly head in the unprecedented suppression of information damaging to Joe Biden in the last presidential election. It demonstrated the depth of collusion between Democrats and both their Leftmedia propagandists and Big Tech speech suppressors. This is, as Mark Alexander has framed it in his exposition on how Democrats are colluding with Big Tech to aggressively suppress free speech – the political “redlining of free speech,” a “fundamental violation of civil rights.”
In a lot of ways, this whole story only confirmed what we have known all along, but having an insider come forward to expose the process in the national media puts a face to the story and gives it additional human interest. The whistleblower’s identity was revealed by The Wall Street Journal and a CBS News “60 Minutes” interview to be 37-year-old Frances Haugen, a Harvard-educated Iowa native who joined the company in 2019 to work with a now-shuttered department of Facebook called Civic Integrity. She was interested in working in that capacity because of a former friend, according to a Journal “Facebook Files” podcast in which Haugen was the guest:
I joined Facebook because someone I was incredibly close to, who was really important to me, I lost them to misinformation on the internet, and I never want anyone to feel the pain that I felt. …
In 2016, he was a little disillusioned after Bernie [Sanders] lost the nomination, and he was susceptible to misinformation on the internet. He got really, really radicalized, and I don’t blame Facebook for what happened to him. I blame more 4chan and Reddit. But he was making crazy claims about George Soros running the world economy and things like that. Things that are just super easy to invalidate. When I would send him these things, to give you a sense of how much misinformation on the internet can twist people, he would say things to me like, “Do you read your own citations? All of these references are to the mainstream media. How can you possibly believe them?”
After joining Facebook, Haugen detailed her panic attacks from the constant struggle to procure enough resources to do the job she believed Civic Integrity could do, only to see the department disbanded after the 2020 election. The final straw for her, though, was January 6.
Facebook turned off all sorts of protections that it had turned on for the 2020 election right after the election. … These are things around like, how reactive is the platform? Is it viral? Those things about ranking, right? Some of those signals that make it easier for angry things to go out, they got tamped down a little bit for the election because they didn’t want to have riots at the election. But all as things make Facebook grow a little slower. They turned off all those safety mechanisms after or they went back to their old settings after the election. And the insurrection happens and immediately they throw them back on.
Obviously, Haugen is not even a political moderate trying to buck the trend at Facebook. In fact, according to public records, she is a serial supporter of Democrats and the orchestration of her current outing of Facebook is tied to an Obama activist.
Thus, her motives should be considered with due caution.
Mark Alexander believes the Democrats will use her “revelations” to further suppress conservative speech across social media platforms, which he believes may actually be Haugen’s motive. The leftwing rag Salon understands her motive, prompting this headline, “Facebook whistleblower exposes a dark reality: Right wing disinformation is popular — and profitable.” Alexander has detailed how Facebooks targeted suppression, social media “shadow banning” of conservative speech, has deliberately restricted The Patriot Post’s social media reach by more than 80% in the last year.
Facebook’s Director of Policy Communications, Lena Pietsch, said in response to Haugen’s remarks, “It’s been 25 years since the rules for the internet have been updated, and instead of expecting the industry to make societal decisions that belong to legislators, it is time for Congress to act.”
And there is the setup.
After Haugen’s “60 Minutes” performance, she went up to Capitol Hill to repeat her claims in three hours of Senate testimony, which The New York Times gleefully declared “United Democrats and Republicans in Calling for Regulation of Facebook.” Despite appearances that Facebook is firing back at Haugen, appearances can be deceiving.
And she is now scheduled to make her case before Nancy Pelosi’s theatrical January 6th congressional inquisition. Can you see where this is going? Haugen is after more censorship of conservative speech. By the way, we’re still waiting for the first “insurrection” conviction from Pelosi’s inquisition – there will be none.
Her bias is particularly evident in her loaded language. For example, she claims that Facebook’s tamping down of what company censors would consider “angry” content made the difference between smoothly run voting and “riots [after] the election.” What aggravated many people most prior to and after the election was the systemic election fraud resulting from the Democrat bulk-mail balloting and blatant media bias, like that exhibited in the cover-up of Hunter Biden’s laptop revelations about Joe “Big Guy” Biden’s schemes to collect big bucks in return for meetings with the Red Chinese.
Haugen is essentially blowing the whistle on algorithms because they’re not as ruthless as knowledgable activists like herself could be. Had Haugen’s desire for a much larger Civic Integrity division been realized, the censorship would be even more blatant.
So, will Congress step in this time? Caveat emptor! Getting government involved in regulating entities like Facebook potentially creates a slippery slope of its own given government’s track record. Does the “Fairness Doctrine” ring a bell? Yet as Haugen told the Journal, she supports such involvement:
I think there’s, like, different tiers of [government] interventions that I think are necessary. At a minimum, we need radically more transparency and we need to, as a society, think about how can we not be dependent on whistleblowers like me to get basic information out of the company. Facebook has told us, “You can either have growth or engagement. If we make it safer, it won’t be as engaging.” … The second thing is we need to have different regulations on engagement-based ranking. Engagement-based ranking is always going to prioritize the sensational. It’s always going to prioritize misinformation. And we need to take interventions to reduce virality, to make things less growth optimized. Because we could have social media that was about our family and friends that we really enjoyed, that was less toxic. It’s just Facebook would grow slower. People would spend shorter sessions on Facebook. Facebook would make less money. We have to regulate it to get that world.
While we agree that additional content from family and friends, instead of the “sponsored content” that now dominates the site, would make Facebook a more enjoyable platform (and bring it closer to its roots), we also think the politically motivated systemic suppression of free speech must stop. Social media companies have long existed on straddling the line between content curator and content provider, and the time is now to make them make a choice and take the responsibility that goes with it.