The Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from the Facebook whistleblower on the platform’s potential role in the Capitol insurrection

The Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from the Facebook whistleblower on the platform’s potential role in the Capitol insurrection

  • Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen may soon speak with the Jan. 6 House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.
  • A committee member tweeted that the lawmakers will need to hear from Haugen on Facebook’s potential role in the attack.
  • On Sunday, Haugen revealed herself as the anonymous contributor who leaked thousands of internal Facebook documents to the Wall Street Journal.

A former Facebook employee who leaked thousands of internal documents and said the social media platform chose its own interests over mitigating harmful content is now reportedly set to speak with the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist who used to work with Facebook’s civic integrity team combating misinformation, may be heard by the House select committee as early as Thursday, several sources told CNN.

Adam Schiff, a Democratic congressman on the select committee, tweeted Monday that the special commission “will need to hear” from Haugen and “get internal info from Facebook to flesh out their role.”

“According to this Facebook whistleblower, shutting down the civic integrity team and turning off election misinformation tools contributed to the Jan. 6 insurrection,” wrote Schiff, who is also chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Haugen said Facebook disbanded its 300-strong civic integrity team in December 2020, believing that its purpose had run its course after the presidential election. She added that she believed this opened the way for insurrectionists to later use the platform to plan the Capitol siege.

She said she previously worked for other internet giants like Google and Pinterest, but that Facebook’s impact was “substantially worse” than “anything I’d seen before.”

Haugen contributed anonymously to last month’s bombshell Facebook Files report by The Wall Street Journal, which detailed how the social media company was aware of hate speech, violence, and harmful effects on its platform but failed to fix them.

On Sunday, Haugen revealed herself as the Facebook whistleblower, and spoke to “60 Minutes,” explaining her belief that the social media company amplifies divisive and hateful content for profit. On Tuesday, she testified at a Senate hearing on her findings.

 

Later that day, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post that what Haugen said is “just not true.”

“The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” he wrote.

“The moral, business, and product incentives all point in the opposite direction.”

Insider has reached out to Facebook for comment. 

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