The Facebook whistleblower who leaked documents that led to a damning series of media reports that alleged the company covered up evidence that its products cause harm is slated to testify Tuesday before lawmakers.
Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager tasked with protecting against election interference, will testify before members of the Senate consumer protection subcommittee beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
Before leaving the company, Haugen copied thousands of pages of internal documents — some of which had already been reported on — to back up her claims that the social media giant prioritizes divisive content over safety to garner higher profits.
“The hearing will provide an opportunity for a Facebook whistleblower to discuss their perspective and experience with the Subcommittee, including how to update children’s privacy regulations and other laws to protect consumers online,” the subcommittee says about the hearing.
The hearing will be convened by the chairman of the committee, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).
Haugen publicly revealed her identity on Sunday, accusing her former employer of pushing divisive content for profit and downplaying its effects on society.
Haugen’s leaks led to a series of reports in the Wall Street Journal that alleged Facebook has sought, among other things, to target children in order to grow its user base, concealed internal research that showed its products are harmful for young girls and has exempted certain users from its content moderation rules.
Facebook, for its part, has disputed the characterization of Haugen’s leaks, insisting that the internal documents were taken out of context.
Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, has repeatedly said in media appearances that the very fact that such internal research exists shows the company’s commitment to understanding its impact on society.
“If we didn’t want to address those questions, we wouldn’t commission the research in the first place,” Clegg said Sunday on CNN.
Last week, members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation slammed Facebook in a contentious hearing called to discuss the leaked documents.
Facebook’s global head of safety, Antigone Davis, scrambled to downplay the Journal reports and convince senators that the company protects kids.
“We strongly disagree with how this reporting characterized our work,” said Davis. “This research is not a bombshell.”
Tuesday’s hearing comes after Facebook has been through the wringer to start the week off.
On Monday, all of Facebook’s apps and websites were hit by global outages that lasted almost six hours, the company’s longest outage since 2008.
Shares of Facebook tumbled almost 5 percent for the stock’s worst trading day in nearly a year.
The stock recovered slightly overnight and was last seen trading more than 1 percent higher in the premarket at almost $330 per share.
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