Facebook Oversight Board to meet with whistleblower over her 'serious claims'

Frances Haugen
(Image credit: Matt McClain-Pool/Getty Images)

The former Facebook employee who testified before Congress last week is now set to meet with the company's Oversight Board to discuss her allegations.

Facebook's Oversight Board, an independent body to which the platform's content moderation decisions can be appealed, said Monday that whistleblower Frances Haugen has accepted an invitation to meet "over the coming weeks." The board said it extended this invitation to Haugen "in light of the serious claims" she has made about Facebook.

Haugen came forward in an interview with 60 Minutes following a series of damning reports on the company from The Wall Street Journal based on documents she provided, including one alleging that Facebook's research suggests Instagram is harmful for many young users. Haugen subsequently testified before Congress, alleging the company has chosen to grow at the expense of users' safety and that its products "harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy."

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"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 said.

One of the reports from the Journal suggested Facebook misled the Oversight Board regarding a cross-check system it uses that allegedly protects high-profile users from its enforcement process. On Monday, the board said its looking into whether Facebook "has been fully forthcoming" in its answers. "Facebook has lied to the board repeatedly, and I am looking forward to sharing the truth with them," Haugen tweeted.

Meanwhile, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said on Sunday the company plans to implement new safety features in the wake of the whistleblower's allegations, including one that would "nudge" teenagers away from Instagram content that "may not be conducive to their wellbeing," as well as another "prompting teens to simply just take a break from using Instagram."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.