Facebook whistleblower takes a swipe at rebranding to Meta

Frances Haugen - Facebook whistleblower

The woman who blew the whistle on Facebook’s abuses against young people and users in general, Frances Haugen taken a swipe at the company’s recent rebranding to Meta, saying it is unconscionable and does not make sense that Facebook chose video games over safety.

In an interview with journalist Laurie Segall at the Web Summit conference recently, Huagen said “Over and over again Facebook chooses expansion in new areas over sticking the landing on what they’ve already done – and I find it unconscionable that they have chosen to invest into video games instead of fixing the safety issues raise.”

According to her, the over ten thousand pages of documents she leaked, clearly reveal that there needs to be more resources on very basic safety systems, and “instead of investing on making sure that our platforms are a minimal level of safe, they’re about to invest ten thousand engineers in video games and I can’t imagine how this makes sense.”

She is therefore suggesting that Facebook’s billionaire CEO, Mark Zuckerberg should step down from the helm of the company because it does not appear Facebook would correct their mistakes and change, so long as Zuckerberg remains CEO.

“I think Facebook would be stronger with someone who was willing to focus on safety,” she said. “I think it is unlikely the company will change if he remains the CEO. And I hope that he can see that there is so much good that he could do in the world and maybe it’s a chance for someone else to maybe take the reins.”

The former Facebook employee leaked tens of thousands of pages of internal documents from the social media firm after she left, exposing loads of decisions by Zuckerberg that fueled abuse of users on Facebook and Instagram including minors.

Indeed, Facebook would later admit to secretly harvesting users’ sensitive data without their permission. Even when users had deactivated location tracking features on the Facebook app, the company still used other avenues unknown to the users to creep up on them.

Haugen said Zuckerberg’s majority of voting shares in the company is problematic because she thinks the shareholders should be able to choose their CEO.

Zuckerberg has strong control over the company’s direction thanks to Facebook’s dual-class share structure, which gives him the majority of voting shares and makes it virtually impossible for the board or activist shareholders to force him out. He has never given any indication that he intends to step aside anytime soon.
Meanwhile, the company’s stock is up almost 21% this year.

This is the farthest Haugen has gone in calling for Zuckerberg to step down from leading the company he founded in his college dorm room nearly a two decades ago. Haugen has repeatedly said that she made the decision to leak the documents because she cares about and believes in Facebook and its capacity to change.

Haugen said she still believes Zuckerberg himself can grow as well.

“It doesn’t make him a bad person to have made mistakes,” she said. “But it is unacceptable to continue to make the same bad mistakes after you know that those are mistakes. And so I have faith that he can change.”

But a Meta spokesperson described Haugen’s comparison of video games and safety as  “ludicrous and a false choice,” saying “It is not as though a company can only build new technology or invest in keeping people safe. Obviously, we can and must do both of these things at the same time – and we are.”


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