Whistleblower Frances Haugen: I believe in cryptocurrency

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Whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former product manager who left her position at Meta (FB) last year and leaked thousands of internal company documents, told Yahoo Finance that she supports cryptocurrency for the same reason she disclosed the corporate secrets: Transparency.

In a new interview, taped on Feb. 9, Haugen voiced enthusiasm for cryptocurrency and praised decentralized financial networks as a new type of system that emphasizes democratic governance and increased disclosure.

“I do believe in the power of crypto,” Haugen says.

She cited the emergence of DeFi, short for decentralized finance, which uses a public, distributed ledger to perform traditional financial functions that would otherwise rely on institutions like banks or national governments.

“We’re getting new models of how to run financial systems, like the DeFi networks,” Haugen says. “The rules are transparent — we all see exactly how they operate.”

Since October, when she revealed her identity as a source of Meta’s internal documents, Haugen has criticized what she considers a lack of transparency at the company.

In contrast, she lauded decentralized financial networks as a tool for greater corporate disclosure.

“I think there are interesting conversations around governance — these crypto projects are experimenting with new ways of doing corporate governance in terms of who gets to influence what decisions and how,” she says.

I think there’s going to be, unquestionably, sometime in the next five years or so, a social network where no one is responsible for it.Frances Haugen

“As somebody who really appreciates organizational health and organizational design, I’m intrigued to see where they go,” she adds.

A trove of documents from Haugen led to a series of bombshell reports, known as the “Facebook Files,” which revealed the company’s internal knowledge of issues as disparate as the effect of Instagram on the mental health of young girls, the prevalence of anti-vaccine misinformation in comments on Facebook posts, and the use of Facebook for the trafficking of vulnerable domestic workers.

In October, Haugen filed a whistleblower complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission that accused the company of misleading investors with public statements that contradicted its internal research.

Frances Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook's civic misinformation team, leaves the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain October 25, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Frances Haugen, a former product manager on Facebook’s civic misinformation team, leaves the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London, Britain October 25, 2021. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Decentralized networks, like the blockchain technology that enables cryptocurrency mining and transactions, will allow for a social network that operates independently of any given country or corporation, Haugen said.

“This is software that doesn’t run in the United States; it doesn’t run in Europe; it doesn’t run in Africa. It runs everywhere simultaneously. Its applications, instead of running in a data center, they’re running in pockets everywhere in these decentralized networks,” she says.

“I think there’s going to be, unquestionably, sometime in the next five years or so, a social network where no one is responsible for it.”

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