Facebook Whistleblower Reveals Privacy Concerns

Ayla Torres, Reporter

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen unfolded the truth behind the happenings inside the tech giant. 

As the former lead product manager at Facebook, Haugen stepped down after two years of what she says was immoral management and failure to properly address multiple privacy issues. 

“During my time at Facebook, first working as the lead product manager for Civic Misinformation and later on Counter-Espionage, I saw that Facebook repeatedly encountered conflicts between its own profits and our safety,” Haugen said in her statement released on Oct. 4, 2020. 

Meaning, when the company was fully aware of Facebooks’ dangers and harmful content, they chose to continue what made them profitable rather than reforming into a safer space. 

Specifically, Haugen admits her reason for publicizing this issue and putting her name at risk is to achieve her ultimate goal — change. 

While she believes social media has the potential to be used for the better good, the current issues and lack of attentiveness to the safety of Facebook users outweighs the good. 

“The result has been a system that amplifies division, extremism and polarization — and undermines societies around the world,” Haugen said. 

“In some cases, this dangerous online talk has led to actual violence. Their profit-optimizing machine is generating self-harm and self-hate — especially for vulnerable groups, like teenage girls. These problems have been confirmed repeatedly by Facebook’s own internal research.”

Ignorance is not the issue here but rather the absence of morality. 

Facebook’s plethora of collected data reveals the harm of their platform and yet they purposefully withhold taking action against it in fear of a decrease in their profits.

 “Facebook became a $1 trillion company by paying for its profits with our safety, including the safety of our children,” Haugen said in disagreement of Facebook’s inefficiency. 

After her statement was released, Haugen testified before a Senate subcommittee, arguing her previously stated concerns. However, this was not an easy fight as current Facebook employees counteracted her statements with proof of their filtered political content. Founder, chief executive officer and controlling shareholder Mark Zuckerberg disagreed.

 “It’s disheartening to see that work taken out of context and used to construct a false narrative that we don’t care,” Zuckerburg said.

 However, Zuckerburg failed to see the prominence of this issue from the start as he had full access and knowledge to the harm of his platform yet did not change the ways of the company. If his intentions were pure and focused on Facebook being a safe space, vulnerable groups would not have fallen victim to Facebooks’ addictive and toxic effects. 

An issue so prominent and relevant to our youth offers the question, how are we to trust social media and those in power of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. knowing their harm? 

Lauren Thompson, a senior at PV High expressed her concern saying, “I would definitely be a lot more careful about what I put online.” Being a person of the targeted “vulnerable group,” Thompson’s concerns are nothing short of rational. The reformation of Facebook is crucial to the safety and well being of our youth, democracy, and users of social media.