Mark Her Words: Frances Haugen’s Flaming Criticism of Facebook

“Frances fundamentally believes that the problems we are facing today with social media are solvable.”

“Frances fundamentally believes that the problems we are facing today with social media are solvable.”

Anjeli Webb, Photojournalist

Spring 2021, John Tye (Founder of nonprofit law firm “Whistleblower Aid”) represents Ms. Haugen anonymously.
Summer 2021, Ms. Haugen commences meetings with congress members like Senators Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn of the US Senate Commerce Committee.
September 2021, Haugen becomes the key anonymous source of the Wall Street Journal multi-series “Facebook Files.”  
October 3, 2021, Haugen is identified and appears on CBS News’s 60 Minutes.
October 5, 2021, Haugen publicly testifies before the US Senate Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security.

Frances Haugen on the 60 Minutes interview that shook Facebook. (CBS News)

The Whistleblower:

Facebook started as an online platform designed to strengthen human connections and improve society through the sharing of ideas and information. Today, the social network is viewed as a corporation causing constant controversy.

This past month, a woman confidently revealed Facebook’s prevalent shortcomings via internal research documents on national news, causing their latest scandal. Her name is Frances Haugen and she hopes to mend social media’s broken systems by urging big tech companies to take action.

YLHS’s very own AP European History Teacher Mr. Buchan (S), shares Ms. Haugen’s opinion on social media. He thinks that Facebook and Instagram need to improve their systems, because “the former has proven to be a platform that went from friends or family sharing pic[ture]s…of a trip, to a toxic platform that has divided friends, family, and allowed for incredible amounts of disinformation to be ‘out there.”

Regarding Frances Haugen, Mr. Buchan adds, “I think Ms. Haugen’s allegations are incredibly important. Our country has whistleblower laws to give confidence to people who might share information…which might serve the purpose of warning our people of potential harms that a company might be knowingly or unknowingly fomenting.”


Excessive use of toxic platforms is common, especially in younger populations. (Zaib Ali)

Mental Health and Teens:

Ms. Haugen has an extensive background in technology, having worked at Yelp, Pinterest, and Google prior to Facebook. While working for Mark Zuckerberg’s multi-billion dollar enterprise, she encountered political disinformation, political bias, and blatant overlook of mental health dangers, which further motivated her to blow the whistle on large social media companies, in addition to the loss of her close friend to misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Yorba Linda Mustangs experience the fallout of these issues on a daily basis, but algorithms harming mental health are what students are most affected by.

The major student-interest issue that Ms. Haugen brought to light was Facebook’s harm to teenage girls. According to the interviewer for her October 4th 60 Minutes Interview, Scott Pelley, “One study says 13.5% of teen girls say Instagram makes thoughts of suicide worse” and “17% of teen girls say Instagram makes eating disorders worse.”

Haugen replied, saying that depressing teenage girls made them use Instagram more, making them “end up in this feedback cycle where they hate their bodies more and more” and reeling in money for Facebook.

Mr. Buchan recognizes how “the ‘fear of missing out’ or ‘image’ related concerns” can devastate teens and add to the pressures of school and being an adolescent.

Sophomore Jeanelle Wu (10) shares her insight, “People often forget that we are just teenagers and can be easily roped into the black hole of social media.” She elaborates that she has “seen how social media has affected many people’s mental health” because “Instagram…leads to comparing lives and promotes a sort of ‘competition.”

With Facebook’s latest high-profile critique by Frances Haugen, YLHS Mustangs should be careful of their social media use, and become well-versed in the media/media platforms they consume.

This poll has ended.

Does Facebook and/or Instagram harm your mental health?


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