Facebook Whistleblower Goes Public Sunday

Former employee will give interview to '60 Minutes'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2021 2:26 PM CDT
Facebook Whistleblower Goes Public Sunday
An iPhone displays the Facebook app.   (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

The public heat on Facebook might get turned up yet again on Sunday when a whistleblower goes public in a 60 Minutes interview. The former employee turned over internal documents to the SEC last month and will reveal her identity in an interview with Scott Pelley, reports CBS News. Some of these documents were used in a recent series of scathing articles about the company in the Wall Street Journal. For instance, one story alleged that Facebook is well aware that its platform (specifically Instagram) is harmful to young teenage girls. Another Journal story asserted that Facebook does not apply its usual standards of behavior to posts made by celebs and other powerful figures, even if they incite violence or amount to harassment. "Profit outweighs safety" is how CBS sums up the whistleblower's view.

“We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly,” says one Facebook employee in an internal review cited by the Journal. In a post at the Conversation, a former SEC attorney writes that "this alone could make a strong case that there was a violation of securities law." That is, if the agency concludes that Facebook misled investors about how it was cracking down on harmful speech, the company and Mark Zuckerberg could be in hot water. At this point, however, it's not a slam dunk. "A key factor that regulators would have to uncover is whether Zuckerberg knew that internal documents showed something different than what he was publicly saying at the time," writes Jena Martin. The whistleblower is expected to make exactly that case on Sunday. (Facebook strongly disputed the Journal series.)

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