Who Is Frances Haugen? Facebook Whistleblower Revealed on '60 Minutes'

Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower, has revealed her identity.

The data scientist anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement in a series of leaked documents that allege the social media giant is aware its platforms are used to spread hate, violence and misinformation and attempted to hide that evidence.

Revealing her identity in a 60 Minutes interview on CBS on Sunday, Haugen said Facebook repeatedly showed the company "chooses profit over safety."

"I don't trust that they're willing to actually invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous," she said.

Haugen, who is scheduled to testify at a Senate hearing on October 5, said she hopes her coming forward will push the government to put regulations in place to govern Facebook's activities.

"This whistleblower's testimony will be critical to understanding what Facebook knew about its platforms' toxic effects on young users, when they knew it, and what they did about it," Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, head of a subcommittee of the Senate commerce panel, said in a statement announcing the hearing on Tuesday.

Facebook has responded to the various claims made by Haugen following the 60 Minutes interview.

Lena Pietsch, Facebook's director of policy communications, told CBS: "Every day our teams have to balance protecting the right of billions of people to express themselves openly with the need to keep our platform a safe and positive place.

"We continue to make significant improvements to tackle the spread of misinformation and harmful content. To suggest we encourage bad content and do nothing is just not true," Pietsch said, among responses to several allegations made against Facebook in the 60 Minutes report.

Who is Frances Haugen?

Haugen, aged 37, is a former product manager at Facebook, who previously Google, Pinterest and Yelp under the same title, according to her Linkedin profile.

She began her role at Facebook in 2019 and requested to work in an area of the company that fights misinformation after losing a friend to online conspiracy theories, the Associated Press reports.

According to her website, having worked on ranking algorithms at Google, Pinterest, Yelp and Facebook, Haugen is a specialist in algorithmic product management.

She worked as the lead product manager on Facebook's civic misinformation team, which handled issues related to democracy and misinformation. She later also worked on counter-espionage at the social media company, according to Haugen's website.

The former Facebook employee was born in Iowa City in eastern Iowa and has an undergraduate degree in electrical and computer engineering and an MBA in business from Harvard University, the same school attended by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Haugen's parents are both professors. She grew up attending the Iowa caucuses with her parents, which, according to her website, nurtured her "strong sense of pride in democracy and responsibility for civic participation."

Facebook logos seen in Los Angeles.
A Facebook logo on a smartphone held in front of a computer screen in Los Angeles, California on August 12, 2021. Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen alleged the social media giant is aware that its platforms are used to spread hate, violence and misinformation and attempted to hide that evidence. Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images