Social moron? Facebook puts profits before people, says ...

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Social moron? Facebook puts profits before people, says ex-employee

Frances Haugen says she saw ongoing evidence that the company prioritises its coffers over its users’ wellbeing

Naomi Nix and Kurt Wagner

A former Facebook product manager has become one of the company’s highest-profile critics after exposing thousands of internal documents she said showed the social media giant failed to protect users. 

Frances Haugen, who tackled misinformation on the platform, turned over internal research to US lawmakers and the Wall Street Journal, which reported the company knew, but didn’t disclose, the negative impact of services such as Instagram. She said she was sounding the alarm about the company’s practices after seeing repeated evidence that Facebook prioritises profits over the wellbeing of its users.

“There were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,” she told CBS News’s 60 Minutes in her first public interview on Sunday. “Facebook over and over again chose to optimise for its own interests, like making more money.” The revelations have ignited a firestorm for Facebook in Washington as lawmakers accuse the platform of covering up internal research about its negative effects. The trove of documents she handed over shed light on internal discussions about the company’s content moderation efforts, how it treats high-profile accounts differently from other users and the mental impact its photo-sharing app Instagram has on young users. ..

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