The Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from the Facebook whistleblower on any role the platform had in the Capitol insurrection
- Frances Haugen may soon talk to the House committee investigating the Capitol insurrection.
- A committee member tweeted that lawmakers needed to hear about any role Facebook had in the attack.
- On Sunday, Haugen acknowledged leaking internal Facebook documents to The Wall Street Journal.
A former Facebook employee who leaked thousands of internal documents and said the social-media platform chose its own interests over mitigating harmful content is now said to be set to speak with the congressional committee investigating the January 6 Capitol insurrection.
Frances Haugen, a 37-year-old data scientist who used to work with Facebook's civic-integrity team combating misinformation, may be heard by the House select committee as early as Thursday, several sources told CNN.
Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat on the select committee, tweeted Monday that the special commission "will need to hear" from Haugen and "get internal info from Facebook to flesh out their role."
"According to this Facebook whistleblower, shutting down the civic integrity team and turning off election misinformation tools contributed to the Jan. 6 insurrection," wrote Schiff, who is also chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
Haugen said Facebook disbanded its 300-person civic-integrity team in December, believing that its purpose had run its course after the presidential election. She added that she believed this opened the way for insurrectionists to later use the platform to plan the Capitol siege.
She said that she previously worked for other internet giants like Google and Pinterest but that Facebook's impact was "substantially worse" than "anything I'd seen before."
Haugen contributed anonymously to last month's bombshell "Facebook Files" series by The Wall Street Journal, which found the social-media company was aware of hate speech, violence, and harmful effects on its platform but failed to fix them.
On Sunday, Haugen revealed herself as the Facebook whistleblower and appeared on "60 Minutes," explaining her belief that the social-media company amplified divisive and hateful content for profit. On Tuesday, she testified at a Senate hearing on her findings.
-60 Minutes (@60Minutes) October 3, 2021
Later that day, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post that Haugen's main point was "just not true."
"The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical," he wrote.
"The moral, business, and product incentives all point in the opposite direction."
In an email response to Insider, a Facebook representative said the company introduced additional security measures during the election period based on "signals and information" from its "ongoing, regular engagement with law enforcement."
"When those signals changed, so did the measures," the person said. "It is wrong to claim that these steps were the reason for January 6."
The company representative added: "The measures we did need remained in place through February, and some - like not recommending new, civic, or political groups - remain in place to this day."
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