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.”
– FRANCES HAUGEN
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.
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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- Connect with Frances: Website | X | Instagram
- Book: The Power of One: How I Found the Strength to Tell the Truth and Why I Blew the Whistle on Facebook
- Time: Inside Frances Haugen’s Decision to Take on Facebook
- The New York Times: Who is Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistle-blower?
- The Guardian: AI is already causing unintended harm. What happens when it falls into the wrong hands?
- Wired: Frances Haugen Says We Need a ‘Free Mark’ Movement
- The Guardian: Frances Haugen: ‘I never wanted to be a whistleblower. But lives were in danger’
- Vox: Meta hasn’t “really learned the right lesson,” whistleblower Frances Haugen says
- Vanity Fair: Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen Regrets Nothing
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