Whistleblower Frances Haugen will meet with Facebook Oversight Board
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will meet with the social network’s independent court-like oversight board in the coming weeks to discuss her concerns about the company, the Facebook Oversight Board said Monday.
Haugen has set off a firestorm around the social media giant in recent weeks after she leaked thousands of pages of documents to lawmakers and the Wall Street Journal. Earlier this month, the 37-year-old former Facebook (FB) product manager revealed her identity on “60 Minutes” in an interview in which she said Facebook has repeatedly prioritized profits over public good. In a Senate subcommittee hearing last week, Haugen detailed a range of concerns, including that the company knows it is serving harmful, eating disorder-related content to young users and that the use of Facebook by authoritarian leaders could present national security concerns.
“In light of the serious claims made about Facebook by Ms. Haugen, we have extended an invitation for her to speak to the Board over the coming weeks, which she has accepted,” the Oversight Board said in a release Monday. “Board members appreciate the chance to discuss Ms. Haugen’s experiences and gather information that can help push for greater transparency and accountability from Facebook through our case decisions and recommendations.”
Haugen confirmed on Twitter Monday that she had accepted the invitation to “brief the Facebook Oversight Board about what I learned while working there.” She added: “Facebook has lied to the board repeatedly, and I am looking forward to sharing the truth with them.”
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this article.
The Facebook Oversight Board is intended for appealing content decisions on Facebook-owned platforms. It’s made up of 20 experts in areas like free expression, human rights, and journalism. Facebook first announced its intention to form an independent entity to vet content decisions in November 2018. After some delay, the company announced in October 2020 that the board would begin to hear cases.
“As a Board, we will continue to ask Facebook difficult questions and push the company to commit to greater transparency, accountability and fairness,” the group said Monday.
The conversation with Haugen could prompt the Board to evaluate a range of issues within the company, but it’s unclear whether Facebook has requested the Board to weigh in or render a decision on any of the concerns Haugen has raised.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported based on documents leaked by Haugen on a system at Facebook called “cross-check” that could create exceptions to the company’s content moderation policies for powerful or high-profile figures. Soonafter, the Oversight Board said it would look into the system. The group said on Monday that it is evaluating “whether Facebook has been fully forthcoming in its responses on its ‘cross-check’ system” and plans to release the results in its first quarterly transparency report later this month.
“Facebook has also said it will ask the Board to review how cross-check can be improved and to offer recommendations,” it said.