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Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen On The ‘Chaos Era’ Of Social Media & The Future of Public Discourse

By September 7, 2023No Comments
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Episode #779



Determined to bring transparency and accountability to Big Tech, today’s guest risked everything to blow the whistle on Facebook.

Meet data engineer and activist Frances Haugen.

In an effort to stop Facebook’s complicity in radicalization and political violence around the world, in 2021 Frances copied tens of thousands of pages of documents that revealed that the social media giant had accidentally changed its algorithm to reward extremism.

Even worse, Facebook knew its customers were using the platform to foment violence and spread falsehoods—and refused to fix it.

Frances testified to Congress and spoke to the media. She was hailed at President Biden’s first State of the Union Address. She made sure everyone understood exactly what the documents showed. And she set an example for standing in truth and doing what is right for the greater good.

“Almost no one outside of Facebook knows what’s actually happening inside the company.”


Today we dive into the nuanced impact of social media on society. We talk about why algorithms prioritize extreme content and the desperate need for proper moderation. We also explore the tools available to combat these issues, including what Big Tech can do to prioritize user consent and reduce misinformation and hate speech.

The visually inclined can watch it all go down on YouTube. As always, the audio version streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Ultimately Frances left me with a surprising sentiment: the belief that we can have social media that brings out the best in humanity.

Note: If this exchange leaves you wanting more, Frances has written a compelling and comprehensive book about her experience entitled: The Power of One.

This is a fascinating and important conversation. I hope you learn as much as I did.

Peace + Plants,

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