Former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen revealed herself to be the whistleblower behind The Wall Street Journal's Facebook Files series in an interview with 60 Minutes Sunday. Haugen is also set to appear before a Senate hearing on Tuesday.
Haugen, a veteran of Facebook, Yelp and Google and a co-founder of Hinge, spoke about Facebook's internal research on how Instagram exacerbates mental health issues for teen girls who are already struggling. "What's super tragic is Facebook's own research says as these young women begin to consume this eating-disorder content they get more and more depressed, and it actually makes them use the app more," Haugen said in the interview.
She noted that Facebook's own research shows that Instagram is "distinctly worse than other forms of social media."
Haugen also criticized Facebook's actions in the aftermath of the 2020 election, at which point she said the company "dissolved" its civic integrity team. "Fast forward a couple months, we got an insurrection," Haugen said. "When they got rid of civic integrity, it was the moment I was like: I don't trust they're actually willing to invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous."
Prior to the interview, Facebook's vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, circulated a memo obtained by The New York Times, in which he sought to downplay the impact of Facebook on political polarization.