A Conversation with Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen

Photo of Frances Haugen

A Conversation with Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen
Center for Humane Technology, October 18, 2021
Your Undivided Attention Podcast, Episode 42
By Tristan Harris

“We are now in social media’s Big Tobacco moment. And that’s largely thanks to the courage of one woman: Frances Haugen.”


Frances is a specialist in algorithmic product management. She worked at Google, Pinterest, and Yelp before joining Facebook — first as a Product Manager on Civic Misinformation, and then on the Counter-Espionage team. But what she saw at Facebook was that the company consistently and knowingly prioritized profits over public safety. So Frances made the courageous decision to blow the whistle — which resulted in the biggest disclosure in the history of Facebook, and in the history of social media.


In this special interview, co-hosts Tristan and Aza go behind the headlines with Frances herself. We go deeper into the problems she exposed, discuss potential solutions, and explore her motivations — along with why she fundamentally believes change is possible. We also announce an exciting campaign being launched by the Center for Humane Technology — to use this window of opportunity to make Facebook safer.

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About the Guest:

Frances Haugen is a specialist in algorithmic product management, having worked on ranking algorithms at Google, Pinterest, Yelp and Facebook. She was recruited to Facebook to be the lead Product Manager on the Civic Misinformation team, which dealt with issues related to democracy and misinformation, and later also worked on counter-espionage.

During her time at Facebook, Frances became increasingly alarmed by the choices the company makes prioritizing their own profits over public safety and putting people’s lives at risk. As a last resort and at great personal risk, Frances made the courageous decision to blow the whistle on Facebook.

Frances fundamentally believes that the problems we are facing today with social media are solvable. We can have social media that brings out the best in humanity.

SUPPORT FRANCES HAUGEN: It took extraordinary courage and personal risk for Frances to blow the whistle against a $1 trillion market cap company. Please support her whistleblower protection by donating to Whistleblower Aid: https://www.gofundme.com/f/facebook-whistleblower