Facebook whistleblower who pushed for more censorship donated to Bernie Sanders and AOC campaigns

By Ailan Evans

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who pushed for more censorship of social media misinformation in Senate testimony Tuesday, is linked to several Democrat operatives.

Frances Haugen is being advised on public relations and strategic communications by Bill Burton, a former Obama administration official and founder of Democrat-linked consulting firm Priorities USA Action, The Washington Free Beacon reported Monday. Burton is also listed as a public affairs representative for the non-profit Center for Humane Technology, which has criticized Facebook and other social media platforms for permitting misinformation and harmful content.

Senate Democrats

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has donated to the campaigns of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

Haugen is represented in her U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission complaints by John Tye, founder of Washington legal group Whistleblower Aid. Tye, himself a whistleblower, previously worked for the State Department during the Obama administration.

Whistleblower Aid was co-founded by Mark Zaid, an attorney who represented Alexander Vindman, the national security official that alleged former President Donald Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on a phone call.

Filings with the Federal Election Commission show that Haugen is a regular donor to Democrats, contributing to several campaigns including those of Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Haugen, who leaked internal documents that The Wall Street Journal published last month, was employed at Facebook as a product manager on the Civic Misinformation team, where she oversaw policies addressing misinformation and hateful content. Haugen worked specifically on “misinformation” in the lead-up to and immediate aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, according to her testimony.

In October 2020, one month before the election, Facebook censored a New York Post story alleging that Hunter Biden and President Joe Biden met with an executive of Burisma, a Ukrainian gas company, in 2015.

The documents Haugen leaked showed that Facebook’s engagement algorithms contributed to the spread of incendiary content as well as “misinformation” related to the COVID-19 vaccines. In her testimony, Haugen called for reform of Facebook’s algorithms, a dedicated regulatory agency overseeing content decisions and the implementation of “soft interventions” that would limit the spread of information deemed harmful.

“Facebook knows that content that elicits a strong reaction from you is more likely to get likes, comments, and reshares,” Haugen said in her testimony Tuesday. “They also know it’s dangerous.”

Haugen, who said she joined Facebook to make it “less toxic,” previously worked at Yelp, where she pushed for more women to work in the technology industry in a lecture titled “The Intersection of Product Management and Gender.”

Whistleblower’s push for stricter social media regulation is raising free speech concerns

Haugen testified in front of a Senate Commerce subcommittee on Tuesday, urging lawmakers to pass legislation regulating Facebook and pushing for more aggressive censorship of misleading content.

Public domain

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen

Haugen, who was employed as a product manager on Facebook’s Civic Misinformation team, leaked internal documents published by The Wall Street Journal last month detailing Facebook’s business practices. The leaked documents showed that Facebook’s algorithms amplified incendiary and divisive content, as well as misleading information related to the COVID-19 vaccine.

Haugen called to crack down on the amplification of “hateful” speech and “misinformation” in her Senate testimony Tuesday, stirring controversy among some critics and Republican lawmakers who saw her proposals as an in-roads to further suppression of political speech.

“I believe she is actually there to advocate for more censorship and less freedom of speech,” Rep. Madison Cawthorn, who serves as chair of the Freedom from Big Tech Caucus, told Fox Business Wednesday.

“I can’t help but think that this entire FB whistleblower story is nothing more than a set up by the left to help justify MORE censorship,” Rep. Jeff Duncan tweeted Monday.

However, many Republicans were receptive to Haugen, with Sens. Mike Lee and Marsha Blackburn applauding her efforts during the Senate hearing Tuesday.

Haugen’s testimony stressed the harms of Facebook’s algorithm promoting and amplifying “misinformation,” and she repeatedly called for further Congressional oversight of Facebook’s content moderation policies.

“Too bad the main concern of many politicians is prodding Facebook to censor ‘misinformation,’” The Wall Street Journal editorial board wrote Tuesday. “Ms. Haugen seems to agree, and it’s notable that her appearance seems to have been midwifed by Bill Burton, a prominent Democratic communications executive.”

At the heart of Haugen’s proposals was the suggestion that Congress force social media companies like Facebook to do away with the engagement algorithms, which amplify content based on user engagement, altogether. Jennifer Huddleston, Director of Technology and Innovation Policy at the American Action Forum, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that such restrictions could raise First Amendment concerns.

“These companies themselves have First Amendment speech rights. These calls to regulate algorithms, particularly algorithms that amplify speech, would be subject to First Amendment scrutiny,” Huddleston said, warning that arguments for restricting the way in which private companies amplify their content could also be used for

“This opens the door to regulation of more traditional media as well, where the government would decide what is and what isn’t acceptable,” Huddleston said.

Haugen also pushed for a dedicated federal regulatory body staffed with former employees of social media companies that would oversee the content moderation policies of social media platforms. Jon Schweppe, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at the American Principles Project, told the DCNF this proposal posed a serious threat to First Amendment rights.

“I don’t think we want any sort of speech commission,” Schweppe said. “For one, it would be unconstitutional, but also, as bad as the content moderation policies of these companies are, to have the government come in and push for even more censorship is really disturbing.”

Haugen is set to meet with members of the January 6 Select Committee in the coming days, CNN reported, where she will discuss Facebook’s response to content posted on its platform preceding the Jan. 6 riots.

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Images courtesy of Public domain and Senate Democrats

3 thoughts on “Facebook whistleblower who pushed for more censorship donated to Bernie Sanders and AOC campaigns

  1. Commies of a feather all flock together…bookindaface twatter gargle and many more are just mouthpieces to control information to the likes of the socialist progs
    and pure commies.. best to stay off all them.. don’t google do the dogpile.. at least they love dogs and your freedom to mega search…

  2. She’s just a Facebook paid stooge If
    you listened to her everything wrong
    In the world of Facebook was do to a
    Conservative view !! Sure

    Paid stooge

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