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What people are saying about the Facebook whistleblower’s damning testimony to Congress

Whistleblower Frances Haugen’s hearing at the US Senate had everyone buzzing with Facebook trying hard to discredit her.

"The US needs a Data Protection Agency," Senator Kristen Gillibrand tweeted a few hours after Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before a US Senate subcommittee. Gillibrand's tweet referred to the Data Protection Act she had announced in June, which involves setting up an agency to check indiscriminate data collection by companies and enforce America's privacy laws. At present, this job largely falls in the ambit of the US Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys. Haugen, who is an ex-Facebook employee, provided damning testimony about the company's practices and its attempts to mislead the public about them. Following the hearing, as Facebook grappled with the crisis, lawmakers, researchers, and others reflected on what Haugen's revelations mean for tech regulations going forward. Facebook whistleblower hearing provided sharp focus but... “Specifically, Haugen managed to elevate the conversation about Facebook by focusing it on the platform’s design and algorithms instead of portraying the company as a politically motivated, censorious juggernaut or an evil empire set on global destruction,” said writer Charlie Warzel, highlighting how the Haugen testimony was different from all the other times Big Tech executives or researchers who have testified at similar hearings before. "Ultimately, Haugen said little on Tuesday that wasn’t previously known, either because she said it on 60 Minutes or it was previously covered in the Journal series. What she might have done, though, is to finally galvanize support in Congress for meaningful tech regulation," wrote journalist Casey Newton. He opined that the hearing provided the uncommon opportunity to talk…

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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