What the Heck is Going on With Facebook Now?


Josephine Baranski, Online Staff Writer

Millions lost trust in social media giant Facebook after Francis Haugen blew the whistle on the company and exposed their true colors. Haugen was a former Facebook product manager, and she anonymously leaked internal documents to the Wall Street Journal. Haugen subsequently filed complaints with federal law enforcement over information that showed Facebook’s systems actively spread hate and misinformation. Their algorithms lead to social division and triggers younger audiences–specifically teenage girls–to develop negative body image and poor mental health. The documents confirmed Facebook was well aware of these negative effects, as the company’s own research confirmed such harm, yet they decided to do nothing, prioritizing profit over the safety of millions of users. These documents have come to be known as “The Facebook Files.”

 Haugen went public with her identity in a 60 Minutes interview where she said, “Facebook has realized that if they change the algorithm to be safer, people will spend less time on the site, they’ll click on less ads, they’ll make less money.” She also claimed, “The company intentionally hides vital information from the public, from the U.S. government, and from governments around the world.” The Senate held a hearing on October 26] in Washing D.C. where Haugen testified. She spent hours on the stand detailing the crimes of Facebook. However, she clarified that her goal was not to destroy Facebook, but rather to change within the cyber world as a whole. She urged Congress to start closely monitoring, and creating regulations for all social media sites in order to protect the greater public good. Following, on October 28, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, announced the rebirth of Facebook as “the Metaverse.” With this rebranding, he has voiced his plans for change, as Facebook hopes to create a more moral platform.  

The PDS community has a vast interest in the goings-on of the cyber world, and Facebook’s latest controversy. Junior computer science student Jayden Smith claims, “Mark Zuckerberg has proven time and time again that he can not be trusted.” Similarly, junior Peter Ryan expresses his fear of what Facebook will become if left to their own free will: “I feel like it (the Metaverse) may become the downturn of humanity.” 

Indeed, Ryan foresees a world that may be filled with division and negativity if Congress chooses to do nothing, even after the people have pleaded time and time again for Facebook to become a more ethical platform; the Congressional hearing of the whistleblower is hopefully the last straw.  


Sources Cited:

  • Manfredi, Lucas. “Facebook Whistleblower Hearing: What to Know.” FOXBusiness, 4 Oct. 2021, https://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/facebook-whistleblower-hearing-what-to-know.
  • Slotnik, Daniel E. “Whistle-Blower Unites Democrats and Republicans in Calling for Regulation of Facebook.” The New York Times, 5 Oct. 2021. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/10/05/technology/facebook-whistleblower-frances-haugen.
  • Wong, Queenie. “Facebook Renames Itself Meta amid Controversy.” CNET, https://www.cnet.com/tech/services-and-software/facebook-renames-itself-meta-amid-controversy/.