How can you whistle one of the most powerful companies in the world and avoid being a victim of subsequent accusations?
Former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen, who caused the crisis to his former employer alone, began preparing long before running for this week’s US Senate hearing.
People working on her behalf visited potential supporters a few weeks ago.Before publishing, she worked with The Wall Street Journal to bring documents from Facebook. A series of stories.. Theme: Damage caused by the perceived willingness of social media companies to prioritize profits over user well-being.
And she was represented behind the scenes by a public relations expert and helped present herself in the strongest light, including the crafted ones. Personal website.
If whistleblowers became one of the last bastions for individuals confronting powerful businesses, Hogen has just taken it to a higher level.
“It’s incredibly smart for her to publish her public website and issues,” he said. Ashley Jobik, An Apple worker who whistled to his employer, knows the extreme pressure that taking a lonely position can bring. But smoothness was a risk, Gjovik added. “I wondered if people would question her motives, saying she was in the spotlight.”
A journey in the limelight of Haugen can be read like the moral story of today’s technology industry. A Silicon Valley tech pawn, she has reached the forefront of the industry’s most controversial battle. Facebook sought to prevent hatred and misinformation that overwhelmed the network.
According to her website, she “bred up to attend a caucuses in Iowa with her parents, instilling a strong pride in democracy and responsibility for civic participation.” Taking a position became a moral imperative when she lost trust in her employer.
37-year-old Haugen arrived in Silicon Valley in 2006. This is a rare female software engineer with a rapidly expanding resume, including resumes on Google, Yelp, and Pinterest. A break to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School marked her as a future senior manager.
In 2018, after she started working on Facebook, Hogen’s journey went in a new life-changing direction. Joining the company’s citizen integrity team, she began to question her employer’s commitment to clean up the network. After Facebook disbanded the group following last year’s US presidential election, she decided it was time to act.
It all culminated in a well-planned media blitz last week. 60 minutes A series of complaints to TV shows and the Securities and Exchange Commission accusing Facebook of misleading investors.
People who know her say on television, and before the Senate, the structured attitudes and keen presentations were not manufactured for that occasion. Cryptographic entrepreneur Joshua Goldbird, who said he met Hogen through the San Francisco arts community, described her as “thoughtful” and “donor.” Another person who knows her says she is very cautious, purpose-based, and analytical.
The preparation does not isolate Haugen from the blowback that comes from choosing such an exposed position. Gjovik says it’s even more serious when it comes to women confronting strong companies. “No one blamed [NSA whistleblower Edward] Snowden to be hysterical, or [having] Mental illness. “
One reaction was the inevitable resignation from her former employer.Facebook Blame her She is a mid-career worker who is not in a position to comment on them because she did not participate in the important decisions outlined in the documents she received from the company.
“Much of what she disclosed was within her job,” countered John Tye, a lawyer who founded and represented her whistleblower support organization. But he and others say that her greatest impact as a witness is not from her direct involvement in Facebook’s decision-making, but her deep link to the broader social impact of Facebook’s product decisions. He says he came from technical understanding and ability.
“Her career as an algorithm designer gives real confidence in some of the discussions she has made,” said Silicon Valley veteran investor. Anti-Facebook activist.
Haugen’s hardship may have just begun. Facebook executives stopped saying the company wouldn’t retaliate or take legal action against her, and one executive suggested on television that her actions could be a crime.
Haugen’s careful preparation before publication may help limit legal risks. Tye said he advised the SEC to file a formal complaint. This is because the SEC is under the protection of whistleblowers.
It can also result in a significant plunge. Whistleblowers who have triggered investigations leading to fines from the SEC receive 10 to 30 percent of their revenue. “I definitely told her [the money] —But that wasn’t part of her motivation, ”Thai said. He added that she hasn’t made any income since she left Facebook in May and she lived on the money she earned from her previous job.
“When I try to guess her motivation, I think it’s just that she wants to see humanity prosper,” Goldbird added. “She was an early employee of many tech companies. She doesn’t do this because of fame or good luck. She does this because that’s right. She says nothing. Couldn’t spend another day on. “
For now, media and political backlash against Facebook caused by Hogen’s exposure may limit retaliation. “The best protection she has is visibility,” McNamee said.
So we move on to the next stop at the road show. It will appear in late October before the British Parliament and will attend the Web Summit, Europe’s largest internet event, in November. The French minister and the representative of the European Commission also called, Thailand said.
Whatever Facebook’s political influence, the Haugen show will run much longer.
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