Dumbo Feather and Small Giants Academy are excited to host Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen in conversation with our Dumbo Feather Editor Kirsty de Garis as they discuss what we can do to make social media accountable and transparent in a climate of misinformation in the digital age.
In 2021 Frances Haugen, former product manager turned Facebook whistleblower, released tens of thousands of internal documents from Facebook. Haugen also testified before the US Senate to demonstrate how Meta (Facebook) repeatedly put profit before public welfare and safety.
Frances Haugen did not set out to be a whistleblower, but when it became a question of saving lives, she knew it was time to tell the truth. On top of her concerns about mental health and hate speech, learning that the Facebook platform was being used by human traffickers in Ethiopia tipped the balance.
About Frances Haugen
Frances Haugen is an advocate for accountability and transparency in social media. Born in Iowa, Frances attended the Iowa caucuses with her parents, which instilled a strong sense of pride in democracy and responsibility for civic participation.
Frances holds a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Olin College and an MBA from Harvard University. She is a specialist in algorithmic product management, having worked on ranking algorithms at Google, Pinterest, Yelp and Facebook. In 2019, she was recruited to Facebook to be the lead Product Manager on the Civic Misinformation team, which dealt with issues related to democracy and misinformation. She later worked on counter-espionage.
During her time at Facebook, Frances became increasingly alarmed by the choices the company made to prioritise their profits over public safety, putting people’s lives at risk. As a last resort and at great personal risk, Frances made the decision to go public with her concerns. The initial reporting was published by The Wall Street Journal in what became known as “The Facebook Files”. Frances has given evidence to US Congress, UK and EU Parliaments, the French Senate and National Assembly, and has engaged with lawmakers internationally on how to best address the negative externalities of social media platforms.
About Kirsty De Garis
Kirsty started her journalism career at The Observer newspaper in London, moved back to Sydney after a stint in New York and worked on a documentary archive of Australia’s war veterans. She then co-wrote, produced and directed a documentary feature film about Vanity Fair special correspondent Dominick Dunne, which toured festivals, cinemas and TVs the world over.
Kirsty spent nine years at TEDxSydney, curating talks and films for their event series as well as with TEDWomen in the US. She has a lifelong passion for meaningful ideas and their ability to change the world. Kirsty has been part of the Small Giants family since 2015.