FB whistleblower says she currently supports herself thanks to crypto investments ‘made at the right time’

Frances Haugen has accused Facebook of repeatedly prioritising ‘growth over safety’

Vishwam Sankaran
Monday 25 October 2021 15:25
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Facebook Whistleblower Testifies Before U.K. Committee

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has said she is supporting herself financially with crypto investments she had made earlier.

The 37-year-old data scientist and former Facebook employee reportedly moved to Puerto Rico to join her “crypto friends” and to cope with a health condition.

“For the foreseeable future, I’m fine, because I did buy crypto at the right time,” she told The New York Times.

After revealing that she was the whistleblower on CBS’ 60 Minutes show on 3 October, Ms Hauhen appeared before the US Congress on 5 October. She accused Facebook of repeatedly prioritising “growth over safety” and “tearing our societies apart”.

Facebook internal documents shared with the US Securities and Exchange Commission by Ms Haugen also revealed on Saturday that the company didn’t make key investments in India needed to curb violence from hate speech and misinformation on its platform.

While Facebook realised India was one of the most “at risk countries”, according to the documents, it didn’t have enough local language moderators as well as content-flagging protocols to prevent misinformation from leading to real-world violence on several occasions in the country.

Ms Haugen, who had worked with several social networking companies, including Pinterest and Yelp, said the pattern of aggressively seeking profits over user safety was unique to Facebook.

Although she has expressed concerns that her revelations may destroy her career, Ms Haugen said her investments in cryptocurrencies are currently helping her stay afloat.

While it is unclear what cryptocurrencies Ms Haugen purchased and when she made the investment, she noted that she is currently also backed by donors, including nonprofit groups supported by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder of eBay.

According to Ms Haugen, she has accepted support from these non-profit groups only for travel and similar expenses.

Politico reported earlier this month that Mr Omidyar’s global philanthropic organisation Luminate is handling Ms Haugen’s European press and government relations.

Mr Omidyar’s foundation also reportedly provided $150,000 to the nonprofit organisation which is providing Ms Haugen legal representation and advice.

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