Is Facebook undermining democracy and creating harm?

Photo av Bente Kalsnes, Frances Haugen and finn Myrstad at the Nobel Peace Center
Photo: Mette Bruaas / Nobel Peace Center

Watch the talk here – whistleblower Frances Haugen in conversation with Bente Kalsnes and Finn Myrstad at the Nobel Peace Center.

Time: Apr 1, 2022 06:15 - 07:30
Place: Livestream and physically at the Nobel Peace Center

Frances Haugen

Frances Haugen is a specialist in algorithmic product management, having worked on ranking algorithms at Google, Pinterest, Yelp and Facebook. She was recruited to Facebook to be the lead Product Manager on the Civic Misinformation team, which dealt with issues related to democracy and misinformation, and later also worked on counter-espionage.

During her time at Facebook, Ms. Haugen became increasingly alarmed by the choices the company makes prioritizing their own profits over public safety and putting people's lives at risk. As a last resort and at great personal risk, Haugen made the courageous decision to blow the whistle on Facebook. The initial reporting was done by the Wall Street Journal in what became known as ‘The Facebook Files.’ Since going public, Haugen has testified in front of the US Congress, UK and EU Parliaments, French Senate and National Assembly and has engaged with lawmakers internationally on how best to address the negative externalities of online platforms.

Haugen has filed a series of complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to Meta, Facebook’s parent company, misleading the public and investors on issues such as climate and COVID-19 disinformation. The complaints also argue that platform has misled investors about its role in the January 6 Capital attack, hate speech removal, the impact of its services on teens and the use of the platform for human trafficking.

Bente Kalsnes

Bente Kalsnes is Associate Professor at the Departement of Communication, Kristiania University College. Her research interest include how social media and other communication technologies impact politics, digital journalism, fake news and disinformation.

Photo: Høyskolen Kristiania

Kalsnes' book about fake news and disinformation in a Norwegian and Nordic context was published in Norwegian in August, 2019 with the title "Fake news: Lies, disinformation and propaganda in the digital public sphere" (CappelenDammAkademisk). In 2018 she received Norwegian Media Researchers' Communication reward for her research outreach to media and through social media.

Kalsnes has previously worked as Associate Professor at the Department of Journalism and Media Studies (Oslo Metropolitan University) and she received her PhD from Department of Media and Communication (University of Oslo).

She has experience as a journalist in Dagbladet, Dag og Tid, DagensNæringsliv, as a columnist in the weekly Morgenbladet, has been communication advisor in the technology company Origo, og was one of the founders of Girl Geek Dinners in Oslo.

Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad

Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad leads the development of better, more ethical digital policies and standards at the Norwegian Consumer Council.Using targeted research and global coalition building, Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad and his team convince governments and companies to improve their policies.

Photo: Forbrukerrådet

Myrstad is the EU Chair of the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue's INFOSOC Committee, which gathers 75 organizations from both sides of the Atlantic. He is also a member of the royally appointed Norwegian Privacy Commission. Myrstad shapes opinion through addresses to audiences such as the G20, European Parliament, SXSW, Princeton University and TED.

Some of their projects so far include privacy and security challenges posed by: internet-connected devices, user terms in apps and tech companies use of dark patterns. Myrstad informs his digital work with his business and LSE degrees as well as his previous experience in politics, energy and the private sector. In 2018 he was named amongst Politico's top influencers in the "GDPR power matrix," and in 2017 he and his team won the European Excellence Awards for best Public Affairs campaign for the work on connected toys.

This event is a part of "Nobel Peace Talks" – the Nobel Peace Center's event-series about Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov's Nobel Peace Prize. Nobel Peace Talks is supported by Norsk Hydro, Reitan Retail, Luminate and Fritt Ord.