At a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing, whistleblower Frances Haugen called for transparency about how Facebook entices users into scrolling away, giving advertisers ample opportunity to reach them.
“As long as Facebook is operating in the shadows, hiding its research from public scrutiny, it is unaccountable,” said Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, who left the company with tens of thousands of classified documents.
“The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people. Congressional action is needed,” Haugen said.
Politicians from both parties have sharply criticized the company, highlighting growing anger in Congress over Facebook, which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp.
Haugen, who compared social media services to addictive drugs like tobacco and opioids, revealed that she was the one who provided documents used in a Wall Street Journal investigation and a Senate hearing into Instagram’s harming of teenage girls.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who was also chairman of the panel, said Facebook knew its products were addictive. “Tech now faces that big tobacco jaw-dropping moment of truth,” he said.
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