Facebook Whistleblower: Frances Haugen
FESTIVAL OF DANGEROUS IDEAS | EXCLUSIVE UNSW ON CAMPUS EVENT
In 2021 Frances Haugen, former product manager turned Facebook whistleblower, released tens of thousands of internal documents from Facebook. Haugen also testified before the US Senate to demonstrate how Meta (Facebook) repeatedly put profit before public welfare and safety. Leadership of the company vigorously denied her accusation that it values profits over people and argued that they continue to employ staff and research programs dedicated to ensuring the safety of everyone who uses the platforms.
With almost half the people in the world using Meta’s platforms the impact of social media on contemporary society cannot be underestimated.
So what can we do to make social media accountable and transparent in a climate of misinformation in the digital age?
Frances Haugen will share lessons from her time at Facebook, and insights into what it will take to reform today's tech giants to build social media that brings out the best in humanity. In conversation with Lyria Bennett Moses, Director of the UNSW Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation at UNSW Sydney, they will explore the ways in which law can hold tech giants to account in order to ensure that technology meets the needs of its users and the broader society.
LIVE EVENT & VENUE
Please note this is a live event and is only open to current UNSW Sydney students, alumni, staff and invited industry colleagues.
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Born in Iowa City, Iowa, Frances Haugen is the daughter of two professors and grew up attending the Iowa caucuses with her parents, instilling a strong sense of pride in democracy and responsibility for civic participation. Haugen holds a degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Olin College and an MBA from Harvard. She is a specialist in algorithmic product management, having worked on ranking algorithms at Google, Pinterest, Yelp and Facebook. She was recruited to Facebook to be the lead Product Manager on the Civic Misinformation team, which dealt with issues related to democracy and misinformation, and later also worked on counter-espionage. During her time at Facebook, Haugen became increasingly alarmed by the choices the company makes prioritising their own profits over public safety and putting people’s lives at risk. As a last resort and at great personal risk, Frances made the courageous decision to blow the whistle on Facebook. Haugen fundamentally believes that the problems we are facing today with social media are solvable. We can have social media that brings out the best in humanity.
Lyria Bennett Moses
Lyria Bennett Moses is Director of the UNSW Allens Hub for Technology, Law and Innovation and a Professor and Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Law and Justice at UNSW Sydney. She is also co-lead of the Law and Policy theme in the Cyber Security Cooperative Research Centre and Faculty lead in the UNSW Institute for Cyber Security. Lyria's research explores issues around the relationship between technology and law, including the types of legal issues that arise as technology changes, how these issues are addressed in Australia and other jurisdictions, and the problems of treating “technology” as an object of regulation.
Andrew Lynch (Introduction)
Professor Andrew Lynch is Dean at UNSW Law & Justice. He has previously served as Head of School and Deputy Dean. He teaches and researches in the field of Australian constitutional law. His research concentrates on the topics of federalism, judicial dissent, judicial appointments reform, and legal responses to terrorism.
Andrew is an author of Blackshield & Williams’ Australian Constitutional Law and Theory (6th ed, 2014; 7th ed, 2018), Australia's Greatest Judicial Crisis - The Tim Carmody Affair (2016), Inside Australia’s Anti-terrorism Laws and Trials (2014), What Price Security? Taking Stock of Australia’s Anti-Terror Laws (2006), and Equity and Trusts (2001 and 2005). He is a co-editor of the books Law and Liberty in the War on Terror (2007), Counter-Terrorism and Beyond: The Culture of Law and Justice After 9/11 (2010), Tomorrow’s Federation: Reforming Australian Government (2012) and the editor of Great Australian Dissents (2016).
Between 2008-2013, Andrew was the Director of the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at UNSW and he continues to work on research housed within the Centre’s Judiciary Project. He is a member of the Council of the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.