Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen was a model witness yesterday in her testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee.
She was obviously prepared. She was clearly credible. She is educated, experienced and unambiguous. She is thoroughly versed in almost all facets of Facebook’s business model. About those few Facebook departments and strategies with which she is unfamiliar, she said so.
Her testimony was straightforward. She was never evasive or defensive.
She brilliantly reduced the complex into understandable simplicity, and did so without being at all condescending.
She was pitch-perfect as a witness. I counted more than a half dozen times when Senators asked her a question that began with, “Do you think…” or, “In your opinion, do you?…”
Nah. She’s smarter than that. On each occasion when she was asked to answer a question subjectively or speculatively, she began her response with, “Facebook knows…”
Facebook knows. Facebook knows. Facebook’s own internal research reflects the depths of the company’s knowledge of its harmful impacts.
And that’s the damning truth.
While Facebook can plausibly argue that its devastating societal consequences were “unintended,” they were no less predictable and even inevitable.
If you didn’t directly start the fire, but you willfully provided matches to “adult” children who then burned the house down, you are no less culpable.
Facebook knew about its ruinous impact on children, especially girls.
Facebook didn’t invent the “Cult”-ure of Lies, but provided it with a megaphone on steroids. Facebook has directly contributed to the COVID-related deaths of 700,000 Americans.
Facebook gave The Big Lie fuel to metastasize.
Facebook played a major role in the January 6 armed insurrection and attempted coup.
I’m not talking out of both sides of my mouth. Facebook is not a public utility. It’s a private company that has every right to control its content. The problem is not who or what Facebook has banned. There is no “free speech” or First Amendment issue here.
The problem, in fact, is that for purely financial motives Facebook has allowed itself to be used by people, ideologies and countries who have done us irreparable harm.
Radically Rational is a private company that has every right to control its content.