Facebook whistleblower to appear before UK Parliament

Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower who accuses the technology giant of putting ahead of safety, will give evidence to the UK Parliament later this month.

Haugen is set to appear before the Online Safety Bill committee on October 25.

It is examining a law to impose obligations on social media companies to protect users, especially children.

Haugen alleges Facebook harms children’s mental health and strokes division in society.

Facebook firmly denies any such allegations, with boss Mark Zuckerberg labelling them “illogical”.

Haugen, a former Facebook employee, handed over internal documents to the Wall Street Journal newspaper, which ran a series of news stories in September about Facebook’s inner workings.

Giving evidence to a US Senate committee last week, she said Facebook refused to make changes that would make the platform safer because it might damage profits.

She is calling for government regulation of the technology giant – both in the US and around the world.

The UK’s Online Safety Bill is potentially one such piece of regulation.

Damian Collins, who chairs the committee reviewing the draft legislation, said Haugen’s information to date had “strengthened the case for an independent regulator with the power to audit and inspect the big tech companies”.

“There needs to be greater transparency on the decisions companies like Facebook take when they trade off user safety for user engagement,” he said.

 

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