Facebook whistleblower to meet with Jan. 6 committee: report

Julia Nikhinson

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who testified before Congress on Tuesday about her former employer, will be meeting with House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, CNN reported, citing three sources.

The House select committee could hear from Haugen as early as Thursday, according to the network. The lawmakers on the committee are tasked with investigating the events surrounding the Jan. 6 insurrection, in which supporters of former President Trump stormed the Capitol in an effort to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s 2020 election win.

CNN reported that the committee wants to know from Haugen how the platform was used to organize and encourage the violent protest.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) appeared to signal earlier this week that Haugen would be speaking with the committee, tweeting on Monday, “According to this Facebook whistleblower, shutting down the civic integrity team and turning off election misinformation tools contributed to the Jan 6 insurrection.“

“The Select Committee will need to hear from her, and get internal info from Facebook to flesh out their role.”

The Hill has reached out to the Jan. 6 committee for comment.

Haugen last month leaked internal documents to The Wall Street Journal that included revelations Facebook knew that the Instagram platform was harmful to its younger users, allegations Facebook did not do enough to stop the spread of false coronavirus-related rhetoric and claims the platform was not doing enough to combat drug and human trafficking being conducted on the site.

Speaking before Congress on Tuesday, Haugen blasted Facebook’s use of artificial intelligence to catch hate speech and misinformation.

“The reality is that we’ve seen from repeated documents within my disclosures, is that Facebook’s AI systems only catch a very tiny minority of offending content,” the former Facebook produce manager said.

She also claimed that issues could not be dealt with adequately because of the company being “understaffed.”

Following the hearing, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post that “We care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health. It’s difficult to see coverage that misrepresents our work and our motives.”

He claimed that the “good work” that Facebook was doing was getting “mischaracterized,” claiming, “At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted.”

“Many of the claims don’t make any sense. If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? If we didn’t care about fighting harmful content, then why would we employ so many more people dedicated to this than any other company in our space — even ones larger than us?” he said.

“If we wanted to hide our results, why would we have established an industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting on what we’re doing? And if social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the US while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world?” he further questioned.

Tags Adam Schiff Adam Schiff Donald Trump Frances Haugen jan. 6 riot Joe Biden Mark Zuckerberg
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