The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen tells lawmakers that meaningful reform is necessary ‘for our common good’

Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen told lawmakers Oct. 5 what policies the company could adopt to make its products safer. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen on Tuesday told lawmakers that the company systematically and repeatedly prioritized profits over the safety of its users, painting a detailed picture of an organization where hunger to grow governed decisions, with little concern for the impact on society.

Her Senate committee testimony — based on her experience working for the company’s civic integrity division and thousands of documents she took with her before leaving in May — sought to highlight what she called a structure of incentivization, created by Facebook’s leadership and implemented throughout the company. By directing resources away from important safety programs and encouraging platform tweaks to fuel growth, these performance metrics dictated operations, Haugen said, a design that encouraged political divisions, mental health harms and even violence.