Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said Mark Zuckerberg should step down as CEO of Facebook parent Meta, if the company has any hope of bettering its corporate culture.
In her first public remarks outside of a government committee hearing, Haugen addressed a crowd of 40,000 at the Web Summit held in Lisbon, daring Zuckerberg to step down, saying “I hope that he can see that there is so much good he can do in the world if he gave the chance to someone else.”
Changes are unlikely if he remains CEO, Haugen remarked, adding the company needs a leader focused on user safety.
Haugen’s call for dismissal is unsurprising given her testimonies accusing the social media giant of disregarding user safety in the pursuit of profit. What began as a series of stories about Facebook’s knowledge of toxicity on it services and its troubles censoring data in foreign countries, has since spiraled into a huge document dump that critics say shows Facebook promoting divisive content and endangering lives.
Facebook has dismissed all the allegations, accusing Haugen of cherry picking documents. However, to the crowd at the Web Summit, Haugen bit back, saying, “There is an easy solution to saying I cherry picked the documents; they could just release more documents.”
But despite Haugen’s best efforts, Mark Zuckerberg seems untouchable and unlikely to be ousted—a nice perk of him and his allies controlling 58% of Facebook’s voting shares.
As a result, even as Zuckerberg warded off Haugen’s accusations and reinvented the company under a new name, a move which attracted some negative attention online, the Facebook share price has wavered very little. Haugen commented on Facebook’s name change to Meta last week—a choice Mark Zuckerberg made to encompass the company’s advances into the AR and VR space—saying there is a “meta problem at Facebook” as the company consistently tries to expand instead of “sticking the landing” on what they can do.
Haugen ended the talk by saying Mark Zuckerberg wasn’t a bad person because he made a couple of mistakes, but that his behavior had become unacceptable since becoming aware of those mistakes and not doing enough to change Facebook.
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