The story of the woman who faced Facebook and changed the way we understand social networks

Frances Haugen Facebook

Frances Haugen a former Facebook employee, has emerged as a key figure in the fight for transparency and accountability on social media. Following her departure from Facebook in May 2021, she was credited with
leaking the “Facebook Papers,” an extensive collection of internal documents revealing how the company prioritizes profits over security and the well-being of users. Her testimony in front of the United States Senate exposed the social network’s harmful practices and sparked an unprecedented series of government investigations and public scrutiny.

Born in 1983, Haugen graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the University of California, Riverside, and an MBA from Harvard University. Her trajectory in the tech industry led her, in 2019, to join Facebook, where she worked as a product manager in the civic integrity division.

During his time at the company, Haugen immersed himself in analyzing the negative impacts of network policies and practices. He witnessed firsthand the spread of misinformation, online bullying, political polarization, and the detrimental effects on users’ mental health. Motivated by her conscience and ethics, she decided to take drastic measures.

In October 2021, she left her position at Facebook and became a whistleblower, determined to expose the company’s internal malpractices. She revealed thousands of confidential documents to the media and appeared before the United States Congress to testify about the issues affecting the platform and its impact on society.

In his disclosures, Haugen has claimed that Facebook prioritizes growth and profit maximization over the safety and well-being of its users; he has highlighted how the platform has enabled the spread of harmful content, the amplification of hate speech and the spread of disinformation. His statements have sparked a heated debate about the responsibility of big technology companies and the need for more regulation.

The story of everything behind it now appears in the book The Truth about Facebook, based on the leaked documents. In nearly 416 pages, Haugen offers a stark and revealing look at Facebook’s algorithms and policies that promote misinformation, hate speech, and social polarization.

The author, who worked in the department in charge of monitoring civic integrity on the platform, details how Facebook’s technology contributes to the development of mental health problems among adolescents and allows the existence of illegal businesses.

This book is presented as a controversial but necessary work since it raises fundamental questions about the power and responsibility of technology companies in today’s society. Haugen challenges the “tyranny of the click” and questions the business model that prioritizes revenue generation at the expense of user safety and well-being.

The impact of Haugen’s revelations extends beyond Facebook. His courage and determination have inspired other whistleblowers and highlighted the need for more regulation and oversight of big tech platforms. Haugen has become a symbol of the fight for online responsibility and has catalyzed a global movement to demand a significant change in the industry.

Their courage and determination have shaken the foundations of the industry and paved the way for a deeper debate about the risks and responsibilities of the digital age.