Democrat Maria Cantwell, Senate Commerce Committee Chair on Tuesday called on Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to keep all documents related to a testimony by whistleblower Frances Haugen last week.
“The testimony… raises significant concerns about whether Facebook misled the public, federal regulators, and this committee,” said Cantwell.
Cantwell asked Facebook to maintain and submit internal Facebook research referencing Haugen and Facebook’s evaluation of research findings; ranking or composition systems; experiments or recommendations to modify these ranking systems and the impact of Facebook’s platforms on children and adolescents under 18.
Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, left Facebook with tens of thousands of confidential documents.
Cantwell’s letter mentioned the potential danger that social media poses to the dissemination of divisive content, including chilling consequences that illustrated the role that the social media platform played in the spread of ethnic violence against the Rohingya.
Last September, a U.S. judge ordered Facebook to release records of accounts linked to anti-Rohingya violence in Myanmar that the social media giant had shut down, disagreeing with its argument that privacy was “rich with irony.”
Last week, the Commerce Committee sharply criticized Facebook, accusing Zuckerberg of shooting for higher profits at the expense of user safety, and called on regulators to investigate whistleblower accounts that show the social media giant harms children’s mental health and stokes divisions.
Zuckerberg defended his company, saying the allegations were at odds with Facebook’s goals.