A Whistleblower and Attorney General Walk Into a Bar
Facebook “Whistleblower” Frances Haugen
In her opening written testimony on Tuesday Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen told the Senate Commerce Committee that "Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy."
Haugen decided to come forward because she became concerned after a friend was “radicalized” to the far-right by “misinformation.” However, when she claims misinformation, radicalization, and harmful content, there is no clarification of what she means. We are in a time when people like Joe Rogan, Ben Shapiro, and James Peterson have been described as far-right. In fact, anyone who opposes the "approved" narrative is quickly labeled as far-right. So, my question is was her friend truly radicalized to the “far-right” or did they simply form opinions that Haugen did not agree with?
Haugen has concerns about hate speech and harmful content but who determines what qualifies as hate speech? How do we regulate what people have a right to say? She gives no parameters for either. History tells us that if this type of censorship is implemented, what qualifies as hate speech and what should be regulated will change with whoever is in power.
If you watch her testimony without any context or information regarding Haugen, you may find yourself agreeing with her. There is no question that social media can have a negative effect on mental health. We all saw a documentary film about this during the lockdown, “The Social Dilemma.”
The news and media emphasize a statistic Haugen shared during her appearance on “60 Minutes” when she revealed that Facebook could only take action against 3% to 5% of hate on the platform and less than 1% of violence and incitement. She claims the reason Facebook doesn’t “take action” is that it prioritizes profits over safety. Yet again, we do not know what constitutes hate or violence, and the fact is that recently certain speech alone has been categorized as violence by the left.
How does Haugen suggest these problems with Facebook be resolved? Mainly she is requesting that changes be made to section 230, allowing Facebook to be held liable for promoting content based on engagement rather than accuracy or other factors. But again, who determines what is accurate? Facebook currently has a collection of “fact-checkers” that prioritize posts from “authoritative sources.” Oddly enough, much of the fact-checking primarily goes one way.
Facebook responded that Haugen has never been in a position where she would have reviewed Facebook Policy on child safety matters or would have direct knowledge.
Please don’t mistake what I am saying as a defense of Facebook. I think Facebook is trash which is why I hardly use it. In general, I also know that social media is not good for you if not properly managed. But this isn’t truly about the harmful effects of social media or mental health; this is about censorship.
Maybe you are thinking Haugen is simply misguided on how best to deal with the issues at Facebook. That she genuinely believes that certain information is dangerous and that her primary concern is mental health and safety since, during her hearing testimony, she uses examples such as anorexia in teenage girls and the upheaval in Ethiopia. But I believe these examples are strategic because they are examples that most people can agree on. When you learn more about her background, her possible motives become more apparent.
Here is a quick background on Francis Haugen:
When at Pinterest, she added a feature that allowed to search by skin color. This feature is being associated with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative. But I am going to be fair and mention that when you consider the primary users of Pinterest, the feature can be helpful on its own. Many women use the platform to search for makeup and outfit inspiration, and to see examples with your skin tone is helpful.
She has accused previous employers of bias and failing to live up to “woke ideals.”
She gave a speech at Google in 2015 on The Intersection of Product Management and Gender. “I didn’t realize the way I had been worn down by being a woman in tech,” she said. “The last team I was on at Google, I had a transsexual Engineering director, and as a result, we had more transsexual women than cis women on our team, which also says something sad about the number of women in tech.”
At Gigster, she spoke about the need to “build with an eye towards inclusion” or else “we can end up enshrining bias.”
She has given 20 campaign contributions, all Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
There is no question that her political leanings lean towards the woke. But she is just a whistleblower, and it’s not as if she has coordinated anything; or has she?
Well, let’s look at how Haugen allegedly blew the whistle. If you think of the most famous whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden and W. Mark Felt “Deep Throat” they leaked information to the press directly. Julien Assange did a document dump on his website Wikileaks. Haugen used a different strategy.
With the help of Whistleblower Aid, Haugen strategically released internal Facebook documents to the Wallstreet Journal. Whistleblower Aid is a group founded by Mark Zaid who represented the national security official Eric Cirameli, Biden’s top adviser on Ukraine, who “blew the whistle “ on Trump’s Ukrain call about Biden and Burisma. Also, Zaid’s partners have worked as an Obama State Department Offical and for Democrat senators such as Schumer.
Haugen is also represented by the public relations firm Bryson Gillette, headed by Bill Burton, a former Obama aide. Bryson Gillette is providing Haugen with “strategic communications guidance.”
Haugen is not revealing anything new. She has taken old news and put it in a new package with the help of Bryson Gillette. The goal of Haugen in partnership with these Democrat operatives is to increase censorship specifically on Conservatives or anyone just right of center. Francis Haugen is no Edward Snowden.
The continued trend towards censorship does not end with social media. It is now extending out to the real world.
AG Merrick Garland, the National School Board Association (NSBA), and “Domestic Terrorists”
Attorney General Garland announced last Monday in a memo to the FBI that the FBI would take the lead on law enforcement responses to “a disturbing spike in harassment, intimidation, and threats of violence against school administrators, board members, teachers, and staff.”
AG Garland is referring to the parents who, over the last year, have been speaking up at school board meetings and objecting to material that is being taught in our public schools and mask mandates.
“While spirited debate about policy matters is protected under our Constitution, that protection does not extend to threats of violence or efforts to intimidate individuals based on their views,” Garland wrote in a memo to federal prosecutors as well as FBI Director Christopher Wray. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values.”
“Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety,” the AG added.
AG Garland’s memo followed a letter from the NSBA to President Biden where they claimed that “America’s public schools and its education leaders are under an immediate threat,” and requested the FBI with the assistance of its National Security Branch and Counterterrorism Division, “examine appropriate enforceable actions against these crimes and acts of violence under the Gun-Free School Zones Act, the PATRIOT Act in regards to domestic terrorism.”
The letter from the NSBA to President Biden cites a few instances as evidence of alleged “immediate threat.” I would say that all of the instances are passionate, but none threatened physical harm or danger. They call the school board members names and imply they will lose their position and pension.
AG Garland’s memo does not cite any instances or set any parameters. The memo orders the FBI and US attorneys to arrange meetings with federal, state, local, tribal and territorial leaders within 30 days to “facilitate the discussion of strategies for addressing threats” and “open dedicated lines of communication for threat reporting, assessment, and response.” Translation, he is empowering the FBI to make it easier to “report” on parents who attend the school board meetings and oppose them. This is an intimidation tactic to censor the parents and quell descent.
I mention these two stories together not because I think there is some vast coordinated conspiracy. But to emphasize that they are all working towards the same goal. The censorship of dissenting views and opinions.
With the way, the news cycle runs it is easy to miss things, either because you don’t have time or because it’s overwhelming. But when you do a greater overview, stories that are totally unrelated turn out to have more in common than you think.
I have no doubt that big tech and Democrats have taken advantage of their relationships to censor conservative voices. But for the most part, the government has been willing to pass the task of censorship over to big tech. This has resulted in us focusing for some time on censorship from big tech companies. Even when it comes to issues of vaccination and COVID big tech has been delegated with the task of censorship.
And although I believe it is essential to push back against censorship of all types, my point is that this Facebook whistleblower is a distraction. The government wants to protect leftist propaganda and indoctrination and will use intimidation to censor you.
Do not let them intimidate you. Hold the line.
Side Note: The Real Whistleblower
Asra Nomani, vice president of investigations and strategy at Parents Defending Education, wrote in a tweet Tuesday that the attorney general “has declared a war on parents.”
“His daughter is married to the co-founder of @PanoramaEd, which is under fire for its multimillion contracts with school boards,” she added. “At @DefendingEd, parents sent us tips. We raised the alarm. Now Garland is trying to silence parents.”
What is Panorama Education? Panorama Education, which was co-founded by Xan Tanner, the husband of Garland’s daughter Rebecca, is a company that collects social and emotional data from students in grades K to 12 and was co-founded by Garland’s son-in-law.
Fairfax County Public Schools increased its existing contract with Panorama Education to $2.4 million earlier this month. The contract is to conduct social and emotional learning (SEL) monitoring in FCPS, which will produce data on students. According to the Washington Examiner, Panorama’s SEL work includes race-focused surveys and training on systemic oppression, white supremacy, unconscious bias, and intersectionality.
Panorama will screen “all” Fairfax children and conduct psychometric evaluations and create psychological profiles. The data mining of students has drawn outcry from parents who are concerned that the company is funded in part by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.