(NEW YORK) — The former Facebook employee who testified before lawmakers last week will now address her concerns with Facebook’s Oversight Board.
Whistleblower Frances Haugen alleged blatant disregard from Facebook executives when they learned their platform could have harmful effects on democracy and the mental health of young people during her testimony before a Senate Commerce subcommittee last Tuesday.
Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, accused Facebook of “choosing to prioritize its profits over people” in her opening statement before lawmakers.
“You can declare moral bankruptcy and we can figure out a fix [to] these things together because we solve problems together,” Haugen said.
Her remarks sparked a backlash toward Facebook from lawmakers and others on a range of issues, such as Facebook’s ability to hold high-profile users accountable to its rules through its so-called “cross check” program, the effectiveness of which was called into question by a Wall Street Journal investigation.
“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 board said in a statement 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.”
The Oversight Board teased that “scrutinizing cross-check” will be among the issues discussed with Haugen. Further details on the upcoming meetings with Haugen were not immediately disclosed Monday.
“As the Board shared in September, we are currently looking into whether Facebook has been fully forthcoming in its responses on its ‘cross-check’ system and will share our analysis in our first release of quarterly transparency reports later this month,” the panel said in a statement. “Facebook has also said it will ask the Board to review how cross-check can be improved and to offer recommendations.”
The Oversight Board was launched to operate independently of Facebook and it decides how the company handles controversial issues, such as the decision to ban former President Donald Trump. Critics though have questioned how much autonomy and power the panel actually possesses when regulating the tech giant.
Facebook has responded to critics who claim the board is an attempt to shirk regulation on its website, saying the Oversight Board is “not a panacea.”
“Facebook sees the board as an important but single piece within a wider content moderation regime, which includes updated internet regulations,” the company stated on its website.
In a statement on Twitter, Haugen said she welcomes the opportunity to meet with the Oversight Board.
“I have accepted the invitation to brief the Facebook Oversight Board about what I learned while working there,” she wrote. “Facebook has lied to the board repeatedly, and I am looking forward to sharing the truth with them.”
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