It's hard to imagine a tougher week for Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook. The whistleblower talked to Congress, painting a damning picture, putting profits before safety. To top it off, Facebook scored an own goal, taking the entire network offline for over 5 hours!
Big Trouble In Little DC for Zuckerberg
This has been a tough week for Facebook. It may even turn out to be a pivotal one: Facebook's tobacco moment!
The build-up started last month when the Wall Street Journal ran a series of articles called The Facebook Files. They reported on internal Facebook research and the insight of a whistleblower who appropriated documents to support her claims.
The whistleblower's central claim was that Facebook knowingly put profits before safety. That they knew of the hate, misinformation, and conspiracy on the platform and they chose to ignore it.
Worse, the Facebook executive chose to deliberately mislead and hide the findings of their own internal research.
This was all damning stuff reported by a team of highly credible investigative journalists.
That was until the whistleblower appeared on CBS' 60 Minutes last weekend. Facebook responded with a fairly bland (and, IMHO, weak) PR statement saying that nobody was doing more than Facebook to eradicate bad behaviour in the world.
Then came Congress on Tuesday. In front of a US Senate subcommittee, the whistleblower, Frances Haugen gave her testimony and answered questions from US lawmakers.
This was damning for Facebook. Ms Haugen testified about;