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Frances Haugen wants to train lawyers to fight Facebook

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Frances Haugen, the whistleblower who released a wealth of Facebook internal documents and data and testified before lawmakers about the social network’s behavior, is now looking for a nonprofit that aims to hold companies like Meta accountable. a report of Politics

The organization, which Haugen wants to call Beyond the Screen, plans to focus on three main goals: educating lawyers who could potentially compete against social media companies, encouraging investors to explore how socially responsible a tech company is before they launch it. giving money, and giving regulators and researchers an inside look at how platforms work. Politics reports that Haugen is currently working on the project with two other people and wants to raise about $5 million in funding to get it off the ground. The report also notes that she has already received at least some funding from some currently unnamed donors.

Haugen hopes Beyond the Screen can help attorneys when involved in class action lawsuits against social media giants by making sure they know what to look for when filing. She also wants to create a metric that investors can use to compare how well companies are doing in keeping their users safe — potentially giving them a way to justify why they’re divesting from a company that may be good for business, but bad. for society.

Ultimately, Haugen wants to create a fake social network that can demonstrate and test how platforms and their algorithms work under the hood. The idea is that a simulated platform could help people better understand how companies do things, without actually involving those companies — that could be a boon for researchers, who have struggled with Facebook and others who have helped them in the past. gave incorrect data.

This sounds like a more focused version of a Haugen concept told Fashion about last year, when she explained that she wanted to “build an open-source social network where students of all ages can learn and experiment,” as the article puts it. †Fashion also mentions that Haugen was invested in cryptowhich seems unfortunate given the current market situation.)

Haugen says her goal is to get to a point where this type of organization isn’t necessary: ​​”My biggest hope is that I’m not relevant anymore,” she shared. Politics† However, it could be a long time before that happens. As Haugen herself points out, there are countries where Facebook is essentially the entire internet — while pushing for legislation in the US and EU, she says she wants Beyond the Screen to target the rest of the world as well. That will probably mean trying to change in places where much of the groundwork hasn’t been done yet, which could be a huge effort.

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