Facebook Whistleblower Gets Seat in Biden State of the Union Box

Frances Haugen of Facebook testifies before Senate subcommittee
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies on Capitol Hill last November. (Image credit: C-SPAN via YouTube)

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will be among the guests in First Lady Jill Biden’s box for the State of the Union speech Tuesday night (March 1), giving credence to reports President Joe Biden plans to address Big Tech-related issues in the speech, specifically online child protection.

Also: SOTU to Include Call for Banning Certain Child-Targetted Online Ads

“Each of these individuals, with their resilience, innovation, service, and courage, were chosen by the White House because they represent policies or themes to be addressed by the president in his speech,” the White House said in releasing the list of attendees.

Haugen created quite a stir last November on Capitol Hill with testimony in which she revealed internal Facebook research showing the company knew its Instagram platform could be harmful to some teens. Facebook countered that the research also showed that most teens said it was helpful and that the information on those who said otherwise was useful feedback for potential changes to the platform to address that concern.

Legislators were unconvinced and have pushed various bills to rein in Big Tech. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.