October 6, 2021

Facebook Whistleblower Demonstrates Importance of Passing Credible Protections

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, we witnessed a brave whistleblower stand up to the social media giant Facebook, stating to Congress: “I believe what I did was right and necessary for the common good — but I know Facebook has infinite resources, which it could use to destroy me.” As leaders in the whistleblowing community, Government Accountability Project supports Frances Haugen and her disclosures about Facebook’s decisions to prioritize its own interests at the public’s expense.

From negative impacts on children’s mental health to the 1/6 insurrection, Ms. Haugen’s testimony demonstrates the essential role of whistleblowers in driving accountability. While there are many misconceptions about whistleblowers, most are motivated by a strong sense of professional, civic, ethical, and/or legal duty influenced by the seriousness of the misconduct or degree of harm.

As Big Tech’s influence in our economy, our access to information, and our personal lives grow, courageous employees like Frances Haugen must be empowered to speak up to help address the dangers that come from an industry with such ubiquitous reach and limited guardrails. That’s why it’s important for lawmakers to take action, which could happen as soon as passing the Whistleblower Protection Reform Act of 2021.

Our Legal Director Tom Devine commented:

“Ms. Haugen’s testimony spotlights the need for credible SEC whistleblower protection under the Dodd-Frank Act. The current weak rights are a reason why would-be whistleblowers remain silent observers. Under current law Ms. Haugen was defenseless against harassment for raising these issues internally. Unlike every other modern corporate whistleblower law since 2002, Dodd-Frank does not allow whistleblowers to seek justice from a jury trial. Current law does not even include an ‘anti-gag’ provision in every other federal whistleblower law since 2002 that blocks nondisclosure agreements from canceling statutory free speech rights. It is not realistic to expect corporate workers to defend our country, if they cannot defend themselves. Profiles in courage like Ms. Haugen are the exception, not the rule.”

Contact: Andrew Harman, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 926-3304

Government Accountability Project

Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.