Haugen's identity as the Facebook whistleblower was revealed on "60 Minutes" Sunday night. She previously shared a series of documents with regulators and the Wall Street Journal, which published a multi-part investigation showing that Facebook was aware of problems with its apps, including the negative effects of misinformation and the harm caused by Instagram, especially to young girls.
"When we realized tobacco companies were hiding the harms it caused, the government took action," she said in her opening remarks. "When we figured out cars were safer with seat belts, the government took action. And today, the government is taking action against companies that hid evidence on opioids. I implore you to do the same here."
Following the hearing, Facebook issued a statement attempting to discredit Haugen. "Today, a Senate Commerce subcommittee held a hearing with a former product manager at Facebook who worked for the company for less than two years, had no direct reports, never attended a decision-point meeting with C-level executives — and testified more than six times to not working on the subject matter in question," the statement, tweeted by spokesperson Andy Stone, read. "We don't agree with her characterization of the many issues she testified about. Despite all this, we agree on one thing; it's time to begin to create standard rules for the internet."
Facebook is no stranger to scandals, and it's not the first time the company has been the subject of Congressional hearings. Nor is it the first time Facebook's public image has been shaken by a whistleblower. But Haugen's documents and upcoming testimony come amid broader scrutiny of Facebook's power and data privacy practices, and have already spurred bipartisan criticism of the company's influence on children. It remains to be seen, however, if it will create momentum for any meaningful regulation.