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This week, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook data scientist, went public as the whistleblower behind the leaked cache of internal company documents known as the “Facebook Files.” Initially published in The Wall Street Journal, the documents allegedly prove that the company’s internal research had demonstrated the negative effects of Facebook and Instagram on their users. But despite public declarations of concern, often fueled by congressional hearings and bad publicity, the company failed to do anything about it.
Among the charges Haugen made in testifying before a U.S. Senate committee and in a complaint brought before the Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook executives were aware that Instagram has a damaging impact on young girls and women with regard to their body image, but did nothing to address this concern. She also revealed the existence of a so-called whitelist of high-profile, VIP users who are exempted from the platform’s moderation policies.