2021 Facebook leak

In 2021, an internal document leak from the company then known as Facebook (now Meta Platforms, or Meta) showed it was aware of harmful societal effects from its platforms. The leak, released by whistleblower Frances Haugen, resulted in reporting from The Wall Street Journal in September, as The Facebook Files series, as well as the Facebook Papers, by a consortium of news outlets the next month.

Primarily, the reports proved that based on internally commissioned studies, the company was fully aware of negative impact on teenage users of Instagram, and the contribution of Facebook activity to violence in developing countries. Other takeaways of the leak include the impact of the company's platforms on spreading false information and promoting anger-provoking posts. Furthermore, harmful content had been known to be pushed through Facebook algorithms reaching young users. The type of content included anorexia posts and self harm photos.

In October 2021, Whistleblower Aid filed eight anonymous whistleblower complaints with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on behalf of Haugen alleging securities fraud by the company after Haugen leaked the company documents the previous month.[1][2][3] After publicly revealing her identity on 60 Minutes,[4][5] Haugen testified before the U.S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security about the content of the leaked documents and the complaints.[6] After the company renamed itself as Meta Platforms,[7] Whistleblower Aid filed two additional securities fraud complaints with the SEC against the company on behalf of Haugen in February 2022.[8]

  1. ^ Zubrow, Keith; Gavrilovic, Maria; Ortiz, Alex (October 4, 2021). "Whistleblower's SEC complaint: Facebook knew platform was used to "promote human trafficking and domestic servitude"". 60 Minutes Overtime. CBS News. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  2. ^ Horwitz, Jeff (September 13, 2021). "Facebook Says Its Rules Apply to All. Company Documents Reveal a Secret Elite That's Exempt". The Wall Street Journal. News Corp. Retrieved May 23, 2022.
  3. ^ Bursztynsky, Jessica; Feiner, Lauren (September 14, 2021). "Facebook documents show how toxic Instagram is for teens, Wall Street Journal reports". CNBC. Retrieved May 12, 2022.
  4. ^ Pelley, Scott (October 4, 2021). "Whistleblower: Facebook is misleading the public on progress against hate speech, violence, misinformation". 60 Minutes. CBS News. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  5. ^ Feiner, Lauren (October 3, 2021). "Facebook whistleblower reveals identity, accuses the platform of a 'betrayal of democracy'". CNBC. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  6. ^ Feiner, Lauren (October 5, 2021). "Facebook whistleblower: The company knows it's harming people and the buck stops with Zuckerberg". CNBC. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  7. ^ Bidar, Musadiq (October 28, 2021). "Facebook to change corporate name to Meta". CBS News. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  8. ^ Zakrzewski, Cat (February 18, 2022). "Facebook whistleblower alleges executives misled investors about climate, covid hoaxes in new SEC complaint". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 12, 2022.

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