Facebook ‘whistleblower’ did it a favour by breaking cover

The distinct possibility that the Facebook leaker has hidden agendas has weakened the effectiveness of her revelations.

It turns out that the source of the leaks the WSJ has been drip-feeding since the middle of last month is a woman who joined the company with ‘high hopes of helping Facebook fix its weaknesses.’ We know this because she told the WSJ so and, when she witnessed her employer’s failure to rise to her lofty standards, decided to take matters into her own hands.

While working out her month’s notice, Frances Haugen (pictured) still had apparently free rein on the internal Facebook Workplace and was at liberty to export a bunch of documents. Humiliatingly for Facebook, she was even able to log on after normal working hours on her final day and type a downright creepy final message onto Workplace. “I don’t hate Facebook. I love Facebook. I want to save it,” she reportedly wrote.

Her love for the company then metastasised into a TV interview published the day after her identity was revealed by the WSJ followed by a three-hour long testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee the following day, which you can see in full at the bottom of this piece. Such a tightly choreographed press tour incorporating so many US power centres has led some to note how different Haugen is from your classic, lone-wolf whistleblower.

We have long suspected that much of the political sabre-rattling directed at big tech is not so much a sincere attempt to protect the public from its unconstrained depredations but a power play designed to force it to align more closely with the interests of politicians. Glenn Greenwald, the journalist behind the Snowden leak, seems to agree.

It’s worth juxtaposing the fate of Snowden with the treatment of Haugen. The former revealed, among other things, the extent of US state surveillance of its own citizens and has been forced into hiding in Russia for fear of retaliation. The latter stole claimed evidence of Facebook putting profits first in its corporate strategy (perish the thought!) and is being carried aloft into the palaces of the mighty.

The (admittedly politically biased) Daily Wire published an expose yesterday alleging Haugen is a ‘leftist activist’ who is working with Democrat operatives to roll out her complaints, which seem to have been fast-tracked to the SEC. We’re not aware of any public response to the Daily Wire piece by Haugen, but it certainly offers further reason to question her motives, which must be handy for Facebook in its efforts at damage limitation.

The current US administration is, of course, Democratic and much of the US mainstream media seems to favour that party (although not the WSJ, it should be noted). Even if we take Haugen at face value and assume her heart’s in the right place, she has at the very least given her favoured politicians a bigger stick to beat Facebook into submission with. The nature of any resulting new layers of censorship will likely reveal what this whole episode was really about.

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