Schakowsky Statement on Facebook Whistleblower Testimony

October 7, 2021
Press Release

EVANSTON –  Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released the following statement after Frances Haugen testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation this week:

On Tuesday, whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before the Senate about internal documents revealing Facebook has known for years that its products cause harm and has done nothing.

“In the meantime, teenagers have suffered depression and worse on Instagram. The famous and powerful have used Facebook with sometimes complete immunity from the rules most other users must follow. Vaccine misinformation has proliferated, extending the public health crisis into its 20th month.

“These documents confirm what has long been suspected: that Facebook knows the harm it causes, that it has time and again prioritized profits over people, and that it has repeatedly lied to Congress when questioned on these very issues.

“I stand with Frances and attempts by Facebook to smear, discredit, or otherwise retaliate against her will not be tolerated. Her courage is astounding and the internal documents she revealed speak for themselves. We don’t have to take Frances’ word for it—we can take Facebook’s.

“It is clear that even well-intentioned attempts to reduce harm and promote healthy interactions cannot compete with a company culture focused on user attention and engagement at all costs. Since Facebook is unwilling or unable to muster the will to respond to the ills identified in their own research, Congress must step in.

“The era of self-regulation is over. I stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle ready to protect the American people from the negligence of a company that has abrogated its responsibilities. The time for excuses and the time for apologies has ended—it is time for Congress to act.”