"Fighting Social Media Giants to Save our Children"
with Frances Haugen
Season 7, Episode 10

On October 24, 2023 a bipartisan coalition of 32 US. Attorneys Generals filed a Federal lawsuit against Meta alleging that the company knowingly designed and deployed harmful features at Instagram, Facebook, and its other social media platforms to induce young children and teenagers into addictive and compulsive social media use contributing significantly to a youth mental health crisis. The suit also alleges that Meta has repeatedly misled the public about the substantial dangers of its platform’s use. But in 2021 before these lawsuits, an anonymous employee of Facebook filed a series of complaints with the US. Federal government, claiming that Facebook had been misleading the public and investors about the impact of its services on the mental health of children and young adults. That employee later revealed herself to be Frances Haugen, and she is our guest today.

As we enter the holiday season where our kids are likely to spend more time than usual on screens, this conversation is more important than ever.

Frances Haugen, an accomplished expert in Algorithmic Product Management, previously contributed to ranking algorithms at tech giants like Google, Pinterest, Yelp, and Facebook. In 2019, she assumed the role of Lead Product Manager on Facebook’s Civic Misinformation team, focusing on democracy and misinformation issues. As she observed the company prioritizing profits over public safety, Frances made the courageous decision to blow the whistle on Facebook. She disclosed numerous internal documents to regulatory bodies and testified before the US Senate, the UK Parliament, and the European Parliament.

Post-Meta, Frances has emerged as a vocal advocate for free speech, accountability, and transparency in the realm of social media. Co-founding “Beyond the Screen,” a nonprofit dedicated to instigating systemic change in social platforms, she emphasizes fostering accountability within the industry. Frances, with a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Bowdoin College and an MBA from Harvard University, recently published her memoir, “The Power of One: How I Found the Strength to Tell the Truth, and Why I Blew the Whistle on Facebook.” Her insights and experiences are shared as a guest on “Parenting for the Future.”

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