Frances Haugen, the former Facebook product manager who has become a whistleblower, said the company's pushes to change Section 230 and increase privacy protections are a "trick" that wouldn't address central concerns about the platform.
"While important, these will not get to the core of the issue — which is that no one truly understands the destructive choices made by Facebook except Facebook," Haugen's prepared testimony says. "We can afford nothing less than full transparency."
Haugen, who is testifying Tuesday before a Senate subcommittee, said in her opening remarks: "Facebook products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy."
Facebook has been pushing for changes to Sec. 230, a legal provision that protects online companies from liability over what users post, and for a federal privacy law. Yet Congress has been slow to agree to changes and doubts persist about whether such any reforms could really address concerns about disinformation, division and the social media site's effect on the mental health of young users.
In her remarks, Haugen compared Facebook to highly regulated but potentially dangerous products such as tobacco, cars and opioids, while stressing that any government steps to rein in the company must respect free speech.
"Today, no regulator has a menu of solutions for how to fix Facebook because Facebook didn't want them to know enough about what's causing the problems," she says. "How is the public supposed to assess if Facebook is resolving conflicts of interest in a way that is aligned with the public good if the public has no visibility into how Facebook operates?"