San Francisco: Frances Haugen, a whistleblower who exposed Facebook and testified in front of lawmakers about the social network’s illegal data activities, is raising up to $5 million to kick off a nonprofit organisation that will train lawyers to fight Big Tech.
According to a report in Politico, Haugen wants to start ‘Beyond the Screen’ a nonprofit that will also focus on incentivising investors to look into how socially responsible a tech company is before giving it money and giving regulators and researchers an inside look into how platforms work.
“Before (my revelations), each of us could only see what was on our own screen. What changed with the disclosures is that we now know what’s going on beyond our own screens. It changed the calculations on how we all approach these companies,” she was quoted as saying in the report.
The former Facebook employee, who spent the last several months testifying to the US, European and Australian authorities, has secured some early-stage funding from donors.
“For Haugen, an early goal is to give lawyers willing to take on social media a crash course in what they should be looking for when filing their lawsuits,” the report said.
The whistleblower aims to build a simulated social network, an artificial platform in which regulators, researchers and others can war-game potential scenarios.
Haugen last year testified before the US and European lawmakers after she leaked a cache of internal Facebook reports.
The reports revealed several alarming policy and moderation failures at Facebook, but lawmakers focused most intensely on documents concerning Instagram’s mental health impacts on young users.
These reports led the committee to hold additional hearings with representatives from other popular social platforms like Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube.