- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke about whistleblower Frances Haugen with staff, the NYT reported.
- Zuckerberg spoke for about 20 minutes and said some of Haugen’s claims were “easy to debunk,” per The Times.
- But he never mentioned Haugen by name, The Times reported.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spoke to employees at length about whistleblower Frances Haugen at an internal meeting — but never mentioned her by name, The New York Times reported Sunday, citing a recording of the meeting.
Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, testified at a Senate hearing on October 5, claiming that the company had repeatedly and knowingly prioritized its own profits over public safety, ignoring the harm to users caused by its apps’ algorithms. Haugen had leaked tens of thousands of pages of internal company research, which was then published in The Wall Street Journal’s Facebook Files series.
The Times reported that Zuckerberg spent 20 minutes talking about Haugen, her testimony, and media coverage of the company during a meeting on Thursday. The Times reported that it had obtained a recording of the session, and that Zuckerberg never mentioned Haugen by her name.
Facebook didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Zuckerberg said in the meeting that some of Haugen’s claims on how Facebook polarized people were “pretty easy to debunk,” The Times reported.
“We care deeply about issues like safety and well-being and mental health,” Zuckerberg said in the Q&A session, per The Times. “So when you see press coverage that just misrepresents our work and takes that out of context and then uses that to tell narratives that are false about our motives, it’s really hard and disheartening to see that.”
The company would come out of the experience better off, he said. “The path to the long term is not smooth, right? It’s not this, like this straight line,” Zuckerberg said, according to The Times. “You know, sometimes, you get thrashed.”
After Haugen’s testimony on October 5, Zuckerberg made a public statement later that day and said Haugen had presented a “false narrative” about Facebook. “The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” he said in the lengthy Facebook post.