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Ex-Facebook employee tells Congress social media giant endangers users, democracy

Updated: Feb 10, 2022


OCT. 5, 2021 UPDATED 1:50 PM PT


A former Facebook employee turned whistleblower urged Congress on Tuesday to regulate the social media giant because she said its products harm children and democracy.

“The company’s leadership knows ways to make Facebook and Instagram safer and won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people,” said Frances Haugen, a former Facebook data scientist who has provided reams of internal company records to news organizations and regulators.

“Congressional action is needed. [Facebook] cannot solve this crisis without your help. ... Facebook has not earned our blind faith,” Haugen testified during her highly anticipated testimony before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security.

The subcommittee is examining allegations that Facebook’s own research revealed that Instagram — its photo-sharing platform — generated intense peer pressure on young users, particularly girls. As a result, those users suffered from serious mental health problems, with some reporting that Instagram intensified suicidal thoughts and eating disorders. The Wall Street Journal last month first reported on the company’s research, which it obtained from Haugen.

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