A Facebook accuser is taking her campaign to Washington.
Frances Haugen, a former product manager at Facebook who leaked internal documents to The Wall Street Journal that produced numerous revelations about the company, will testify in a Senate hearing this morning. Tuesday.
The hearing, which begins at 10 a.m., is part of Ms. Haugen’s trip to increase government scrutiny of the social media giant. She appeared on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night and is expected to meet European regulators this month. Ms. Haugen has warned that Facebook has no incentive to change its core goal of increasing engagement – even with harmful content – without intervention from regulators.
Here’s what to expect at the hearing:
Ms. Haugen will focus on the company’s efforts to acquire increasingly younger users. Several studies she revealed to The Journal show that Instagram harms teenagers by fostering anxiety and, in some cases, suicidal thoughts. Research reveals that one in three teens say they feel worse about their body image because of Instagram.
“I am here today because I believe that Facebook products harm children, cause division, undermine our democracy and more,” Ms. Haugen said in written testimony. “The company’s management knows how to make Facebook and Instagram more secure and won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their huge profits before everyone else. Congressional action is needed.”
Lawmakers will accept Ms. Haugen’s testimony. Concerns about the safety of children online have united Republicans and Democrats. They are increasingly angry at Facebook for failing to protect young users and allowing misinformation to spread.
Lawmakers will dive into the insights Facebook executives have about Instagram’s toxic impact on young users. They will likely ask whether Mark Zuckerberg and other leaders were aware of but ignored research on Instagram’s impact on children and other issues such as the spread of hate groups prior to the riots. at the Capitol or not.
Lawmakers will probably also ask Ms. Haugen about how the company’s system for promoting malicious content works. They will also focus on how tools like Facebook’s beauty filters, comments and “like” buttons can attract young users to Instagram.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat and chair of the panel on consumer protection, product safety, and data security will highlight an experiment his office conducted, in There it created an account for a fake 13-year-old user who expressed an interest in weight loss. The account, he said in an interview, was filled with a hole for content promoting eating disorders and other self-harming behaviors.
“I wanted to talk about her perception of what she read in those documents and the use of algorithms to increase profits but also exacerbate harm,” Mr. Blumenthal said.