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Whistleblower’s SEC complaint: Facebook knew platform was used to “promote human trafficking and domestic servitude”

For the first time, read the whistleblower’s complaints to the SEC that led to 60 Minutes’ report on Facebook.

For the first time, 60 Minutes is publishing whistleblower complaints filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission against Facebook by former employee Frances Haugen.

Oct 5, 2021: Whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic integrity team, is testifying at an internet safety hearing on Capitol Hill. Facebook’s leaders know how to make their products safer but won’t, she says

The filings, submitted by Haugen’s lawyers, state, “Our anonymous client is disclosing original evidence showing that Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has, for years past and ongoing, violated U.S. securities laws by making material misrepresentations and omissions in statements to investors and prospective investors, including, inter alia, through filings with the SEC, testimony to Congress, online statements and media stories.”

Haugen’s attorneys have filed at least eight whistleblower complaints with the SEC based on tens of thousands of internal Facebook documents secretly copied by Haugen before she left the social media company in May. 60 Minutes obtained the SEC letters from a Congressional source. 

Haugen revealed her identity on Sunday in an interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley. It was her first recorded interview.

“The thing I saw at Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,” Haugen told Pelley. “And Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money.” 

Among the allegations in the SEC filings are claims that Facebook and Instagram were aware in 2019 that the platforms were being used to “promote human trafficking and domestic servitude.” The filings also allege Facebook “failed to deploy internally-recommended or lasting counter-measures” to combat misinformation and violent extremism related to the 2020 election and January 6 insurrection.

Following the 60 Minutes report on Sunday, Facebook Vice President of Integrity, Guy Rosen, said on Twitter “We have the most comprehensive and transparent effort to fight hate speech of any major tech company.”

Facebook declined an on-camera interview with 60 Minutes before the report ran. The company issued a statement that you can read here.

Haugen’s lawyer John Tyle told 60 Minutes that “as a publicly traded company, Facebook is required to not lie to its investors or even withhold material information.”

Tye said his client is provided legal whistleblower protection from lawsuits by the Dodd-Frank Act, which became a federal law in 2010. 

Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist with a degree in computer engineering and a Master’s Degree from Harvard Business School told Pelley that Facebook “picks metrics that are in its own benefit” when it comes to publishing data about hateful content and misinformation.

“The prevalence of hate speech on Facebook is now 0.05%, and is down by about half over the last three quarters,” Facebook’s Rosen tweeted Sunday night. “We can attribute a vast majority of the drop in prevalence in the past three quarters to our efforts.”

Haugen’s whistleblower complaints, which you can read in full below, make allegations against the $1 trillion social media company and cite some of the internal Facebook documents Haugen copied and provided to federal law enforcement.

“The SEC filings lay out the scope of the internal research that Haugen brought forward,” said 60 Minutes producer Maria Gavrilovic. “It helped 60 Minutes understand the severity of the allegations brought by the whistleblower.” 

60 Minutes contacted the SEC regarding Haugen’s allegations and was told it “does not comment on the existence or nonexistence of a possible investigation.” 

Click the link to the original article in order to view the SEC complaints:


Published by amongthefray

News with a historical perspective. Fighting against misinformation, hate, and revisionist history.

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