Former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen is heading a new initiative, featuring a slew of former intelligence officials and bankrolled by a left-wing billionaire, that aims to influence how social media companies moderate speech and content.
Haugen will co-chair the Council for Responsible Social Media, according to a Wednesday press release from Issue One, a non-profit sponsoring the initiative. The council’s members includes Leon Panetta, former CIA Director and secretary of Defense under Barack Obama, Chris Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency under Donald Trump, and Bush administration CIA Director Porter Goss; members also include the Biden administration’s former Director for Legislative Affairs at the National Security Council Nicole Tisdale and Obama administration Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Facebook is being investigated over leaked company documents and allegations by a former employee, according to financial filings.
The company’s 10-Q form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday mentions that Facebook is “subject to government investigations and requests” seemingly related to documents leaked by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen that detail tech giant’s business practices and internal research.
Top lawmakers in the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee met with Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen on Thursday, a person familiar with the matter confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Democratic Rep. David Cicilline, who chairs the subcommittee, and Republican Rep. Ken Buck, who serves as ranking member, held a meeting with Haugen to discuss Facebook and issues related to social media competition, Politico first reported, citing two sources. A person familiar with the matter confirmed the meeting to the DCNF, and said the lawmakers also discussed potential antitrust reforms, as well as matters related to privacy and social media algorithms.
Buck and Cicilline worked together to advance a series of antitrust bills targeting major tech companies out of the House Judiciary Committee in June, and have both advocated for breaking up Facebook and other large platforms. The antitrust bills are currently set to reach the House floor in November.
Facebook is reportedly planning on rebranding and is set to announce a new company name next week, according to The Verge.
Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg intends to announce the new name at the Facebook Connect conference on Oct. 28, a source familiar with the matter told The Verge. The rebrand is reportedly an attempt by Zuckerberg to shift public perception of the company as a social media platform to a technology conglomerate with several different products beyond the Facebook social network.
Another former Facebook employee says she is willing to testify before Congress on the tech giant’s business practices.
Sophie Zhang is a former Facebook data scientist and whistleblower who, in September 2020, revealed “influence” operations perpetrated by “authoritarian regimes” that took place on Facebook. Zhang told CNN in an interview Sunday that she provided information regarding “potential criminal violations” by Facebook to a U.S. law enforcement agency at the time. Zhang also said that she is willing to testify before Congress about her allegations of criminal conduct by Facebook.
Ritual humiliation of social media companies is becoming something of a tradition. Most typically, social media CEOs are hauled before Congress, harangued for a day, promise to “do better,” and then go back to business as usual.
Last week a new kind of social media witness appeared: a whistleblower. Frances Haugen emerged with a great deal of fanfare, complete with a public relations firm, a verified account on Twitter, and a fawning entourage, including members of the press and Congress. But instead of denouncing social media for its excessive power, wealth, and hostility to traditional American values, Haugen pleaded for regulations that happen to align with the peculiar values and interests of Silicon Valley.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg broke his silence on Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen late Tuesday, rebutting several of her allegations in a Facebook post.
“At the most basic level, I think most of us just don’t recognize the false picture of the company that is being painted,” Zuckerberg wrote in a letter to Facebook employees posted to his account. “Many of the claims don’t make any sense.”
After Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before the Senate Commerce Committee Monday, a hearing which focused largely on Facebook’s negative impact on children, GETTR CEO Jason Miller released a statement.
In a press release, Miller said the following:
The National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) has credited Tennessee’s top prosecutor with a major role in leading NAAG’s support for the U.S. Senate’s inquiry into social media’s impacts on mental health and safety.
The association announced Tuesday it sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security backing that subcommittee’s efforts to probe Facebook and other companies regarding their effects on children and teens.