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Inside Facebook: A Live Event

Who is Jeff Horwitz? In “The Power of One: How I Found the Strength to Tell the Truth and Why I Blew the Whistle on Facebook,” Frances Haugen wrote: “Jeff had become my most consistent friend for the previous nine months. He was my rock. He had believed me when I felt alone at Facebook. He had given me the support to follow my conscience and been the best collaborator I could have had throughout it all.”

With Haugen as his guide, Horwitz dug deep into Facebook — both the data and the people inside the company. And what he reported — first in “The Facebook Files” in The Wall Street Journal and then in his book “Broken Code” — includes voices from across departments inside the company.

“Anger and hate is the easiest way to grow on Facebook,” Frances Haugen warned the British Parliament in 2021.

“There was little desire to sacrifice engagement for societal stuff,” Horwitz told Harvard Magazine. The idea of “trading a, say, 30 percent reduction in misinformation for .1 percent of daily active usage was dead on arrival. And that is not theoretical. They repeatedly did make those decisions.”

Horwitz has gathered together three of the sources he interviewed for the book and has agreed to participate in a public conversation that I’ve organized. It will be the first time this large a group of Facebook former employees will be together in a public forum, “Unveiling the Truth Behind Facebook.” (free tix here)

Horwitz will dig deep into the heart of Facebook with a group that features:

Arturo Bejar, known for his former role as the director of engineering for Protect and Care at Facebook. In this capacity, he brought significant concerns directly to the top management of Facebook and Meta, including Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, about the potential harms their products were causing. “I appear before you today as a dad with firsthand experience of a child who received unwanted sexual advances on Instagram,” Bejar told Congress when he appeared before them.

Jeff Allen, the co-founder and chief research officer of the Integrity Institute. His background includes working as a data scientist at Facebook from 2016 to 2019. During his tenure at Facebook, Allen focused on addressing systemic issues within the public content ecosystems of Facebook and Instagram. Jeff Allen told Time.com, “Platforms leave them themselves vulnerable and exploitable by bad actors across the globe if they allow large audiences to be built up by the extremely low-effort practice of scraping and reposting content that previously went viral.”

Elise Liu, a former Facebook product manager, told Horwitz: “People don’t like being told they’re wrong, and they especially don’t like being told that they’re morally wrong.

“Every meeting I went to, the most important thing to get in was ‘It’s not your fault. It happened. How can you be part of the solution? Because you’re amazing.’ “

Together, this group will unravel the complex web of challenges and ethical dilemmas they faced within the walls of one of the world’s most influential tech giants. They will share their perspectives on the internal culture, decision-making processes, and the monumental tasks of handling data integrity and user care in an environment that touches billions of lives.

The group will gather on Zoom, on April 3 at 1 p.m. Eastern time, and audience Q&A will be invited.

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