According to a Politico report, Frances Haugen, the Facebook whistleblower who revealed a wealth of internal documents and data and testified in front of lawmakers about the social network's behavior, is now planning to form a non-profit focused on keeping corporations like Meta accountable.
The publication says Haugen intends to name the organization "Beyond the Screen" and focus it on three key objectives. To begin, attorneys who may face social media businesses should be educated. Second, investors should be encouraged to assess a company's social responsibility before investing in it. Finally, authorities and scholars will have a better understanding of how social media networks operate.
Haugen hopes that "Beyond the Screen" will give lawyers a leg up in class-action lawsuits against social media giants by teaching them what to look for when filing. She also wants to develop a metric that investors can use to compare how well companies do at keeping their users safe, potentially giving them a reason to divest from a company that is good for business but bad for society.
According to reports, the whistleblower is currently working with two more people on the project, which aims to raise $5 million in funding for its launch. Furthermore, according to reports, Haugen has already secured at least some funding from unknown backers.
Haugen eventually wants to create a mock social network that can be used to demonstrate and test how platforms and their algorithms work behind the scenes. The idea is that a simulated platform could help people better understand how companies operate without requiring those companies to be involved - this could be a boon for researchers, who have previously struggled with Facebook and others feeding them inaccurate data.
She is hoping that the non-profit will give lawyers an advantage when dealing with a class-action lawsuit against platforms. She also hopes to develop a metric that investors can use to compare how successful companies are at keeping users secure.
Haugen says her goal is to reach a point where this type of organization is no longer required: "My greatest hope is that I'm no longer relevant," she told Politico. But 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 she has advocated for legislation in the United States and the European Union, she says she wants "Beyond the Screen" to include the rest of the world as well. That will almost certainly entail attempting to effect change in areas where much of the groundwork has yet to be completed, which could be a massive undertaking.