Just who Francis Haugen?
For weeks, the former Facebook product manager was making a splash behind the scenes. After collecting thousands of pages of Facebook documents while at the company, she shared the find with The Wall Street Journal, lawmakers and regulators, leading to the exposure that the social network knew about the many harm it caused.
Mrs Haugen only opened on Sunday evening. It was then that she continued “60 minutes,” started tweet, published Personal site, started GoFundMe and announced a European tour to speak with legislators and regulators. The move was timed to coincide with a congressional hearing on Tuesday, when Ms Haugen is to testify in person about Facebook’s impact on young people.
Details about the 37-year-old Mrs Haugen have since diverged. A native of Iowa City, Iowa, she studied electrical and computer engineering at Olin College and received an MBA from Harvard. She then worked for various Silicon Valley companies, including Google, Pinterest and Yelp.
In June 2019, she joined Facebook… There, she worked on democracy and disinformation issues, and also worked on counterintelligence as part of a civil disinformation team, according to her personal website.
She left Facebook in May, but not before seizing thousands of pages of internal research and documents. These documents formed the basis of a number of magazine articles and whistleblower complaint which she and her lawyers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Despite her seemingly hostile stance, Ms Haugen said she doesn’t hate Facebook, she just wants to improve it.
“We can have social networks that reveal the best of humanity,” she said on her website.
Although she has shared some company documents with members of Congress and the offices of at least five attorney generals, Ms Haugen has chosen not to submit them to the FTC, which filed an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook… She said she did not believe that antitrust enforcement would solve the company’s problems.
“The way forward is transparency and governance,” she said in a video on her GoFundMe page. “This isn’t about breaking up Facebook.”
In prepared comments for Tuesday’s hearing, which were posted ahead of time, Ms Hogen also compared Facebook to tobacco companies and automakers before the government intervened with cigarette regulations and seat belt laws.
“Congress can change the rules by which Facebook plays and stop causing harm,” she said.