Facebook has chosen to reply to whistleblower Frances Haugen in the most cowardly means doable: by hiding Mark Zuckerberg, the man finally liable for Facebook’s choices, and starting the means of making an attempt to smear and discredit Haugen.
That is some Large Tobacco bullshit — exactly what sleazeball PR guru John Scanlon was hired to do when Jeffrey Wigand blew the whistle on tobacco firm Brown and Williamson. Scanlon’s job was to change “the story of B&W to a story about Wigand’s persona.”
After all, that technique “backfired fully,” Self-importance Honest reported in 2004. It most likely received’t work right here, both. One senator, Edward Markey of Massachusetts, has already referred to as Haugen “a Twenty first-century American hero,” including that “our nation owes you an enormous debt of gratitude.”
Like Wigand, Haugen has receipts: inner paperwork and knowledge from Facebook’s personal researchers, all of which make for severe and supported claims about the platform’s harms and decisions the firm made to maximize revenue and engagement in ways in which would improve these harms. It’s doable to contend together with her allegations on the deserves, however Facebook is just too immoral for that — and Zuckerberg has determined he’s above it, as a substitute occurring trip.
Let’s learn via right now’s Facebook assertion on the Haugen listening to collectively, lets?
Facebook PR: “At present a Senate Commerce subcommittee held a listening to with a former product supervisor at Facebook who labored for the firm for lower than two years, had no direct experiences, by no means attended a decision-point assembly with C-level executives — and testified greater than six occasions to not engaged on the material in query.”
Translation: At present, a peon testified in Congress; she is just too unimportant to title. Nothing she says is worth it as a result of she is just not fancy sufficient. And though she had entry to a number of inner analysis paperwork supporting her claims, you possibly can’t belief her testimony on them — regardless of her material experience and years of expertise in the subject — as a result of she didn’t write them herself.
Facebook PR: “We don’t agree together with her characterization of the many points she testified about.”
Translation: We predict she’s mendacity however received’t say how, or about what, particularly.
Facebook PR: “Regardless of all this, we agree on one factor; it’s time to start to create normal guidelines for the web. It’s been 25 years since the guidelines for the web have been up to date, and as a substitute of anticipating the trade to make societal choices that belong to legislators, it’s time for Congress to act.”
Translation: It’s time to change the topic to one thing we like higher, though Haugen herself mentioned Facebook is presenting false decisions when it comes to privateness and free speech.
Now, let’s all discover what’s lacking. Although Facebook disputes Haugen’s characterizations of the analysis in query, it doesn’t present its personal interpretation. Nor does it interact any of the claims Haugen makes — that are, by the way, supported by inner Facebook analysis Haugen offered. If Facebook had proof, it will present it.
After seeing this assertion, the man who was as soon as Haugen’s boss’s boss, Samidh Chakrabarti, backed Haugen. Her considerations are actual, he mentioned. And as Facebook’s Civic Integrity Lead, he did have direct experiences and sat in on C-suite conversations.
However the funniest half is the absence of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO and the solely shareholder with the energy to exchange himself. Zuckerberg began Facebook as a Sizzling-or-Not clone — which nearly actually would negatively have an effect on teen ladies’ shallowness. (At the least he’s constant, I suppose.) The choices Haugen alleges, which put earnings forward of morals, have additionally enriched him greater than anybody else. The buck stops, fairly actually, with him. So the place is he?
If the greatest Facebook can provide you with is that this disgusting try at character assassination, Haugen is telling God’s personal fact. We must always hear to her.
Replace 5:21PM ET: Provides Samidh Chakrabarti’s tweet in assist of Frances Haugen.