Whistleblower Frances Haugen to Pen Book 'Offering Critical Examination of Facebook'

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has inked a book deal for a memoir that will provide "a critical examination" of the social media giant, which has recently come under fire for allegedly prioritizing profits over the public good.

Haugen, a former Facebook manager, leaked tens of thousands of internal documents this past fall. In her accusations, she cited research that she claimed showed the company has not done enough to combat hate speech, misinformation and other potentially harmful content on its platforms.

"During my time at Facebook I realized a devastating truth: almost nobody outside of Facebook knows what happens inside of Facebook. They operate in the dark," she said in a statement.

Haugen said that Facebook's secrecy and lack of oversight allow it to operate in a manner that brings in money "by sacrificing our safety."

"But it does not have to be this way — these problems are solvable. We can have social media we love that also brings out the best in humanity. My hope is that this book will show us the way," she said in the statement.

Haugen was identified as the whistleblower during a 60 Minutes interview in early October. Days later, she testified to the Senate about Facebook's purported failure to squash misinformation and hate speech, as well as make changes to Instagram after internal research indicated it could be harmful to teens.

"Facebook's products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy," Haugen said during the testimony that also offered suggestions and called for Congressional action. "The company's leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won't make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people."

Haugen's planned book does not yet have a title or release date, and the financial aspects of her deal with American publisher Little, Brown and Company have not yet been disclosed.

Haugen Book Deal
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has inked a book deal for a memoir that will provide “a critical examination” of the social media giant that has recently come under fire for allegedly prioritizing profits over the public good. Haugen speaks during a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, October 5, 2021, in Washington. Alex Brandon/AP Photo

Haugen's prominence has been cited as a sign of a rising wave of Big Tech whistleblowers. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has disputed her accounts, calling them a "false picture" of the company, but shared her view that the government needed to update its internet regulations.

A native of Iowa City, Iowa, Haugen is a data expert with a degree in electrical and computer engineering from Olin College and a master's degree in business from Harvard. She already had 15 years of experience with tech companies, including Google and Yelp, before being recruited by Facebook in 2019 and joining in its civic integrity unit as lead product manager.

Haugen and others have said that Facebook eliminated the civic integrity unit after the November 2020 election — Facebook says the unit was not eliminated, but integrated into a larger team. Haugen said she became convinced the company could not be trusted to "actually invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous." She left Facebook in May, but not before spending weeks reviewing and copying documents.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Haugen Testimony
Frances Haugen, a former Facebook manager, leaked tens of thousands of internal documents from the social media giant this past fall. Haugen testifies during a hearing before the Communications and Technology Subcommittee of House Energy and Commerce Committee December 1, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images