Corporate Corruption News StoriesExcerpts of Key Corporate Corruption News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of corporate corruption news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
In "Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free: And Other Paradoxes of Our Broken Legal System," [Judge Jed S.] Rakoff reaches far beyond corporate boardrooms to highlight an array of shortcomings within the criminal justice system. His proposed fixes are worthy of consideration but also lay bare a harsh reality: The entrenched interests tolerating the system's inequities and, in some cases, profiting from the status quo pose significant obstacles to reform. Rakoff realized that America's "system of justice is failing its mission" after becoming a federal district court judge a quarter-century ago. What's the nature of this failure? The country imprisons millions of indigent Americans yet routinely allows white-collar criminals to avoid punishment. "To a federal judge," he declares, the government's reluctance to hold executives accountable and instead enter into "cosmetic prosecution agreements" with corporations that are repeatedly violated and unenforced "is disturbing ... in what it says about the DOJ's apparent disregard for equality under the law." Rakoff fittingly cites Pfizer to exemplify his point. The four deferred-prosecution agreements between the pharmaceutical giant and federal authorities from 2002 to 2009 – all devised to prevent future misconduct – failed to stop the company from flouting the law. Through it all, Pfizer's executives went unpunished, and the fines the company paid represented a fraction of its ill-gotten gains.
Note: For a much deeper analysis and discussion of Judge Rakoff's highly revealing book by courageous journalist Matt Taibbi, see this excellent essay. Consider subscribing to Taibbi's excellent work. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the court system and in Big Pharma from reliable major media sources.
For 33 years and four months [the highly decorated General Smedley] Butler had been a United States Marine. Butler knew what most Americans did not: that in all those years, he and his Marines had destroyed democracies and helped put into power the Hitlers and Mussolinis of Latin America, dictators like the Dominican Republic's Rafael Trujillo and Nicaragua's soon-to-be leader Anastasio Somoza – men who would employ violent repression and their U.S.-created militaries to protect American investments and their own power. He had done so on behalf of moneyed interests like City Bank, J. P. Morgan, and the Wall Street financier Grayson M.P. Murphy. And now a bond salesman, who worked for Murphy, was pitching Butler on a domestic operation that set off the old veteran's alarm bells. The bond salesman was Gerald C. MacGuire. He made his proposal: The Marine would lead half a million veterans in a march on Washington, blending the Croix de Feu's assault on the French legislature with the March on Rome that had put Mussolini's Fascisti in power. They would be financed and armed by some of the most powerful corporations in America – including DuPont, the nation's biggest manufacturer of explosives and synthetic materials. The purpose of the action was to stop Roosevelt's New Deal, the president's program to end the Great Depression, which one of the millionaire du Pont brothers deemed "nothing more or less than the Socialistic doctrine called by another name." Butler recognized this immediately as a coup.
Note: Read a concise summary of the highly decorated US General Butler's important book "War is a Racket." He makes clear that the reason we have so much war has little to do with national security and everything to do with padding the pockets of those in the military-industrial complex. Read more about the fascist plot to take over the US that he uncovered. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Drug makers and other healthcare companies spent almost $30 billion in a single year to influence the medical choices made by Americans and steer them toward treatments that were newer, vastly more expensive and sometimes riskier than their tried-and-true alternatives, new research shows. The 2016 expenditures paid for TV commercials, sponsorships of patients' groups, promotional meetings for doctors, free drug samples and perks for prescribers. The amount represents a 70% increase since 1997, when drug companies began making direct appeals to American consumers. The study ... offers the most comprehensive accounting of healthcare marketing efforts to date. It traces broad shifts in the media and regulatory environment in which health companies operate, as well as the drugs and services – including erectile dysfunction pills, DNA testing kits and robotic surgery services – they are keen to sell. While lawmakers and regulators have tried to counter the impact of healthcare marketing in recent years, the reforms have had little effect on an industry that accounts for nearly 18% of the country's gross domestic product. The drug industry has increasingly turned to a more indirect approach in its marketing: sponsoring disease-awareness campaigns. Such campaigns, in which a company sponsors ads that do not name a particular medication, rose from 44 in 1997 to 401 in 2016, with an attendant spending increase from $177 million to $430 million.
Note: The pharmaceutical industry provides 75% of television advertising revenue when many countries do not allow drug advertising. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
British people are [asking]: What is the deal with all of these medicine ads in the U.S.? England doesn't allow commercials for prescription drugs. While there are ads for over-the-counter drugs in most of the world, the U.S. and New Zealand are the only two countries that allow drug companies to advertise prescription drugs directly to consumers. Commercials for prescription drugs do not exist in Europe or South America or Asia or Africa or Mexico or Australia, just in the U.S. and New Zealand, which is a much smaller market. It wasn't too long ago that TV in the U.S. was like the rest of the world, completely free of prescription drug ads. The '60s, the '70s, most of the '80s, there are no ads like this. By the '80s, though, ... drug companies started saying, we don't want to advertise our drugs just to doctors and pharmacists anymore. We want to market our drugs directly to consumers. The FDA was worried about how commercials would impact demand for drugs - misuse, overuse, all kinds of things. But there were compelling reasons to go directly to consumers. So in 1981, the first direct-to-consumer ad runs in print in Reader's Digest. The FDA [decided television] commercials need to say, out loud, the major risks of a drug. You just had to include the major risks of a drug, along with places where consumers could get more information about the drug, like a phone number or a website or a recommendation just to talk to your doctor. And this is what really opens the TV ad floodgates.
Note: The pharmaceutical industry provides 75% of television advertising revenue in the US. So how likely are TV stations to carry stories that reveal problems with drugs or corruption in the industry? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
A journalist writing for The BMJ has won a British Journalism Award for his series on the financial interests of medical experts advising US and UK governments during the covid-19 pandemic. As a result of the articles written by Paul Thacker, an investigative journalist, the financial disclosures of members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) were published for the first time. Thacker's first story looked at two groups critical to the UK government's pandemic response–SAGE and the Vaccine Taskforce. He examined both and found that they did not disclose their members' financial conflicts. Some members were tied to companies with a monetary interest in the government's purchases. Thacker ... filed freedom of information (FoI) requests with multiple government departments and Oxford University. In a second story he wrote about the government's repeated refusal to turn over these data. However, the FoI ... revealed that Thacker's original request was apparently sent to a special government department to handle any reporter considered a "campaigner" or to have "extreme views." Eventually, the government relented and published the financial conflicts for the members of SAGE. In the final story of the series Thacker looked at the panels that the US and UK governments used to authorize vaccines and revealed that ... disclosure policies were inadequate. Some experts evaluating the vaccines had significant industry ties that were not disclosed.
Note: Read the full text of Thacker's article titled, "Covid-19: How independent were the US and British vaccine advisory committees?" and another titled "How the case of the Oxford professor exposes a transparency crisis in government." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Laurie Valeriano first heard about DINP decades ago. "I started to worry about the chemicals that come out of all these plastics," she said. DINP, one of a group of chemicals called phthalates that makes plastic more pliable, was one of them. It was already clear that DINP could cause cancer and interfere with hormonal functioning. In February 2000, Valeriano and her employer, the Washington Toxics Coalition, asked the Environmental Protection Agency to add DINP to the list of chemicals it monitors through a nationwide program called the Toxics Release Inventory. Seven months later ... the EPA announced that it planned to grant the group's request and issued a proposed rule that would add DINP to the toxics inventory. Yet more than 20 years later, the EPA has yet to make good on its promise to add DINP to the list of chemicals. It never finalized the rule. Companies have continued to churn out DINP ... in astounding amounts without disclosing how much individual plants make and emit. In addition to the cancer and hormone disruption that sparked Valeriano's claim 21 years ago, we now know more about how DINP affects the sexual development of children. It decreases sperm motility, increases malformations of the testes and other organs, and makes boys ... more likely to be infertile later in life. In fact, the entire group of phthalates – an estimated half-billion pounds of which are made and used in the U.S. each year – seem to cause a similar constellation of health problems.
The largest oil and gas companies made a combined $174bn in profits in the first nine months of the year as gasoline prices climbed in the US, according to a new report. The bumper profit totals ... show that in the third quarter of 2021 alone, 24 top oil and gas companies made more than $74bn in net income. From January to September, the net income of the group, which includes Exxon, Chevron, Shell and BP, was $174bn. Gasoline prices have hit a seven-year high in the US due to the rising cost of oil, with Americans now paying about $3.40 for a gallon of fuel compared with around $2.10 a year ago. The Biden administration has warned the price hikes are hurting low-income people, even as it attempts to implement a climate agenda that would see America move away from fossil fuels, and has released 50m barrels of oil from the national strategic reserve to help dampen costs. But oil and gas companies have shown little willingness so far to ramp up production to help reduce costs and the new report, by the government watchdog group Accountable.US, accuses them of "taking advantage of bloated prices, fleecing American families along the way" amid ongoing fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. The analysis of major oil companies' financials shows that 11 of the group gave payouts to shareholders worth more than $36.5bn collectively this year, while a dozen bought back $8bn-worth of stock.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
When Ron Nixon, The New York Times's homeland security correspondent, got an exclusive story about a top Department of Health and Human Services official admitting the agency lost track of nearly 1,500 migrant children, he couldn't publish it right away. It was, without a doubt, the kind of breaking news The Times considers important to delve into quickly and thoroughly. But Mr. Nixon had agreed to an embargo that required him to wait until 10 a.m. on the morning of a congressional hearing about how the agency was keeping track of migrant children to publish his article. Embargoes, set by government agencies, medical journals, theater groups, publishing houses and countless other sources are a common practice in journalism. They entail an agreement between a source and a reporter, or the reporter's publication, that the story will not be published before a given date and time. While it's certainly not a crime to break an embargo, – and in fact, many reporters do so by accident, by misreading a time zone, for example – it comes with consequences. When one news outlet breaks an embargo and hits the publish button, the embargo is lifted for all of the outlets, sometimes instigating a scramble to the finish line. For anyone who breaks an embargo, there's a risk of losing a relationship with a source. Sometimes, the damage is necessary in order to serve readers best. And sometimes ... a reporter may not want to break an embargo. "I try to keep my word," Mr. Nixon said. "That's currency."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
During a nine month investigation, the BBC has uncovered the disturbing truth about the way authorities in New York City are conducting the fight against Aids. HIV positive children - some only a few months old - are enrolled in toxic experiments without the consent of guardians or relatives. In some cases where parents have refused to give children their medication, they have been placed in care. The city's Administration of Children's Services (ACS) does not even require a court order to place HIV kids with foster parents or in children's homes, where they can continue to give them experimental drugs. In 2002, the Incarnation Children's Center - a children's home in Harlem - was at the hub of controversy over secretive drugs trials. [Reporter Jamie Doran] speaks to a boy who spent most of his life at Incaranation. Medical records, obtained by the This World team, prove the boy had been enrolled in these trials. "I did not want to take my medication," said the boy, "but if you want to get out of there, you have to do what they say." He also conveys a horrifying account of what happened to the children at Incarnation who refused to obey the rules. "My friend Daniel didn't like to take his medicine and he got a tube in his stomach," he said. For months, the BBC tried to get information from the people responsible for the trials, but none would comment. The companies that supply drugs for the trials are among the world's largest, including Britain's own Glaxo SmithKline (GSK).
Note: Read a long list of examples of humans being treated as guinea pigs by corporate and governmental programs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma from reliable major media sources.
The Environmental Protection Agency has withheld information from the public since January 2019 about the dangers posed by more than 1,200 chemicals. By law, companies must give the EPA any evidence they possess that a chemical presents "a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment." Until recently, the agency had been making these reports – known as 8(e) reports, for the section of the Toxic Substances Control Act that requires them – available to the public. But since 2019, the EPA has only posted one of the reports to its public website. During this time, chemical companies have continued to submit the critical studies to the agency, according to two EPA staff members with knowledge of the matter. Since January 2019, the EPA has received at least 1,240 reports documenting the risk of chemicals' serious harms, including eye corrosion, damage to the brain and nervous system, chronic toxicity to honeybees, and cancer in both people and animals. PFAS compounds are among the chemical subjects of these notifications. Not only has the agency kept all but one of these reports from the public, but it has also made them difficult for EPA staff to access, according to the two agency scientists, who are choosing to remain anonymous. The substantial risk reports have not been uploaded to the databases used most often by risk assessors searching for information about chemicals. They have been entered only into an internal database that is difficult to access and search.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Synthetic chemicals called phthalates, found in hundreds of consumer products such as food storage containers, shampoo, makeup, perfume and children's toys, may contribute to some 91,000 to 107,000 premature deaths a year among people ages 55 to 64 in the United States, a new study found. People with the highest levels of phthalates had a greater risk of death from any cause, especially cardiovascular mortality, according to the study published Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Pollution. Phthalates are known to interfere with the body's mechanism for hormone production, known as the endocrine system, and they are "linked with developmental, reproductive, brain, immune, and other problems," according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Even small hormonal disruptions can cause "significant developmental and biological effects," the NIEHS states. Prior research has connected phthalates with reproductive problems, such as genital malformations and undescended testes in baby boys and lower sperm counts and testosterone levels in adult males. Often called "everywhere chemicals" because they are so common, phthalates are added to consumer products such as PVC plumbing, vinyl flooring, rain- and stain-resistant products, medical tubing, garden hoses, and some children's toys. Other common exposures come from the use of phthalates in food packaging, detergents, clothing, furniture and automotive plastics.
A massive trove of private financial records shared with The Washington Post exposes vast reaches of the secretive offshore system used to hide billions of dollars from tax authorities, creditors, criminal investigators and – in 14 cases involving current country leaders – citizens around the world. The revelations include more than $100 million spent by King Abdullah II of Jordan on luxury homes in Malibu, Calif., and other locations; millions of dollars in property and cash secretly owned by the leaders of the Czech Republic, Kenya, Ecuador and other countries; and a waterfront home in Monaco acquired by a Russian woman who gained considerable wealth after she reportedly had a child with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Other disclosures hit closer to home for U.S. officials. The files provide substantial new evidence, for example, that South Dakota now rivals notoriously opaque jurisdictions in Europe and the Caribbean in financial secrecy. Tens of millions of dollars from outside the United States are now sheltered by trust companies in Sioux Falls, some of it tied to people and companies accused of human rights abuses and other wrongdoing. The trove, dubbed the Pandora Papers, exceeds the dimensions of the leak that was at the center of the Panama Papers investigation five years ago. That data was drawn from a single law firm, but the new material encompasses records from 14 separate financial-services entities.
Note: Some have suggested that the CIA was responsible for the earlier Panama Papers leak. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
Paul Marik, MD, one of the most highly published critical care physicians in the world and the Director of the ICU at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, was recently told by Sentara Healthcare that he could no longer administer a range of highly effective COVID-19 treatments to critically ill patients - the same treatments he has successfully used to reduce COVID deaths in the ICU by as much as 50%. The result of the prohibition has been a sharp increase in patient mortality. Because Dr. Marik can no longer stand by while patients needlessly die without proper treatment, he has filed a lawsuit to allow him and his colleagues to administer the combination of FDA-approved drugs and other therapies that has saved thousands of critically ill COVID-19 patients in the last 18 months. The Complaint filed today in the Circuit Court for the City of Norfolk, Virginia states that Sentara Healthcare is "preventing terminally ill COVID patients from exercising their right to choose and to receive safe, potentially life-saving treatment determined to be appropriate for them by their attending physician." Under Virginia law, every patient has the right to receive treatment deemed appropriate for them by their attending physician, and terminally ill patients have the right to try investigational medicines that their treating physician recommends. Through its arbitrary prohibition of the COVID-19 treatment protocol ... Sentara is violating the law and unjustly depriving critically ill patients of lifesaving treatment.
Note: Watch a video detailing successes with these treatments and obstruction by authorities of these life-saving treatments. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
In just a decade the Food and Drug Administration has evolved from amorphous obscurity deep within the capital bureaucracy into both the world's paramount regulator of consumer goods and the Federal Government's most criticized, demoralized and fractionalized agency. With the agency's ban on saccharin, it is again at a storm center of complaints from consumer groups that the action was too long delayed and from diet food interests that the step was capricious and without scientific justification. But the agency, a bureaucratic waif that is responsible for overseeing a staggering $200 billion worth of products yearly, is not only whipsawed by the public controversy, it is so demoralized that a number of its top positions long go unfilled, so burdened that it cannot keep up with the explosion of consumer goods and so battered by lawsuits and outside pressures that its power to make its decisions stick is sometimes undermined. In just the last three years the agency has been the target of more than 100 Congressional investigations, 50 highly critical reports by the General Accounting Office and a series of internal inquiries despairing of ever setting the place right. After his departure as Commissioner of the agency in 1969, Dr. Herbert E. Ley said that "what the F.D.A. is doing and what the public thinks it's doing are as different as night and day." He complained further that during his 18 month tenure he had been under "constant, tremendous, sometimes unmerciful pressure" from drug industry officials.
In autumn 2020 Pfizer's chairman and chief executive, Albert Bourla, released an open letter to the billions of people around the world who were investing their hopes in a safe and effective covid-19 vaccine to end the pandemic. "As I've said before, we are operating at the speed of science," Bourla wrote, explaining to the public when they could expect a Pfizer vaccine to be authorised in the United States. But, for researchers who were testing Pfizer's vaccine at several sites in Texas during that autumn, speed may have come at the cost of data integrity and patient safety. A regional director who was employed at the research organisation Ventavia Research Group has told The BMJ that the company falsified data, unblinded patients, employed inadequately trained vaccinators, and was slow to follow up on adverse events reported in Pfizer's pivotal phase III trial. Staff who conducted quality control checks were overwhelmed by the volume of problems they were finding. After repeatedly notifying Ventavia of these problems, the regional director, Brook Jackson, emailed a complaint to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Ventavia fired her later the same day. Jackson has provided The BMJ with dozens of internal company documents, photos, audio recordings, and emails. Jackson has told The BMJ that, during the two weeks she was employed at Ventavia in September 2020, she repeatedly informed her superiors of poor laboratory management, patient safety concerns, and data integrity issues.
Note: Yet every major media proudly announces "brought to you by Pfizer." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Twitter has been slammed for fact-checking the obituary of a Seattle mother that attributed her death to blood clots brought on by the COVID-19 vaccine after she was forced to get the shot due to "heavy-handed" state mandates. The online obituary for 37-year-old Jessica Berg Wilson, who died Sept. 7, was marked as "misleading" by the social media giant over the weekend. The fact-check warning was removed by Twitter on Monday morning following the backlash. The tribute ... said the mother of two died from "COVID-19 Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia" – a rare blood disorder that can occur in some cases after the vaccine. Wilson had been "vehemently opposed" to getting the vaccine because she was in good health, but she eventually relented after Washington state made it mandatory for teachers and those wanting to volunteer in schools, her obituary said. "During the last weeks of her life, however, the world turned dark with heavy-handed vaccine mandates. Local and state governments were determined to strip away her right to consult her wisdom and enjoy her freedom." The social media giant fact-checked the obituary after it was shared by Twitter user Kelly Bee alongside a tweet that read: "Jessica Berg Wilson, an 'exceptionally healthy and vibrant 37-year-old young mother with no underlying health conditions,' passed away from COVID Vaccine-Induced Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia. She did not want to get vaccinated."
Note: Learn lots more about this tragedy in this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles coronavirus vaccines and media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
Merck is planning to charge Americans 40 times its cost for a Covid drug whose development was subsidized by the American government. Americans are facing not merely expensive drugs but prices that are examples of outright profiteering. In many cases, the medicines we are being gouged on are those that we the public already paid for. These facts show us that pharma-bankrolled Democrats trying to kill drug pricing measures aren't just bought and paid for in this particular skirmish – they are foot soldiers in the pharmaceutical industry's larger multi-decade campaign to seal off and rig America's alleged "free market". A new Public Citizen analysis shows that the 20 top-selling medicines generated almost twice as much pharmaceutical industry revenue in the United States as in every other country combined. For all the pharmaceutical industry's self-congratulatory rhetoric about its own innovations, the federal government uses your tax dollars to fund a lot of that innovation, research and development. A study from the National Academy of Sciences tells that story: the federal government spent $100bn to subsidize the research on every single one of the 200-plus drugs approved for sale in the United States between 2010 and 2016. We now routinely face immoral situations like last week's news that pharmaceutical giant Merck is planning to charge Americans $712 for a Covid drug that cost only $17.74 to produce and whose development was subsidized by the American government.
The popular, once bipartisan idea to hold down Medicare costs is now at the center of President Joe Biden's domestic agenda. Legislation backed by the administration calls for Medicare to mirror other government agencies, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, in being able to negotiate for cheaper medicine through the Part D program. The idea could potentially save the government nearly $500 billion over a decade. The drug pricing proposal could also translate to lower prescription costs across the board. The drug industry, according to its top lobbyist, Stephen Ubl, has made defeating the provision its top priority. Inside the Beltway, the opposition is coming from familiar faces. Many leading Democratic lawmakers and staff have been hired by the drug industry to convince their former colleagues to abandon the drug pricing proposal. Pfizer alone has assembled a lobbying team that includes Dean Aguillen, a former adviser to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Remy Brim, a former health policy adviser to Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.; and over half a dozen aides to senior Senate Democrats. Ann Jablon, former chief of staff to Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass. ... currently represents several drug companies as a lobbyist, including Amgen Inc., Astellas Pharma, and Bayer. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the trade group that represents the largest drug companies in the world, has also gone on a hiring spree of Democratic lobbyists.
To ward off accusations that it helps terrorists spread propaganda, Facebook has for many years barred users from speaking freely about people and groups it says promote violence. The restrictions appear to trace back to 2012, when ... Facebook added to its Community Standards a ban on "organizations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity." This modest rule has since ballooned into what's known as the Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy, a sweeping set of restrictions on what Facebook's nearly 3 billion users can say about an enormous and ever-growing roster of entities deemed beyond the pale. But as with other attempts to limit personal freedoms in the name of counterterrorism, Facebook's DIO policy has become an unaccountable system that disproportionately punishes certain communities, critics say. It is built atop a blacklist of over 4,000 people and groups, including politicians, writers, charities, hospitals, hundreds of music acts, and long-dead historical figures. A range of legal scholars and civil libertarians have called on the company to publish the list so that users know when they are in danger of having a post deleted or their account suspended for praising someone on it. The company has repeatedly refused to do so, claiming it would endanger employees and permit banned entities to circumvent the policy. The Intercept has reviewed a snapshot of the full DIO list and is today publishing a reproduction of the material in its entirety.
Note: Facebook was found to be the number one platform for political disinformation campaigns in 2019. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media corruption from reliable sources.
Frances Haugen spent 15 years working for some of the largest social media companies in the world including Google, Pinterest, and until May, Facebook. Haugen quit Facebook on her own accord and left with thousands of pages of internal research and communications that she shared with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 60 Minutes obtained the documents from a Congressional source. On Sunday, in her first interview, Haugen told 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley about what she called "systemic" problems with the platform's ranking algorithm that led to the amplification of "angry content" and divisiveness. Evidence of that, she said, is in the company's own internal research. Haugen said Facebook changed its algorithm in 2018 to promote "what it calls meaningful social interactions" through "engagement-based rankings." She explained that content that gets engaged with – such as reactions, comments, and shares – gets wider distribution. "Political parties have been quoted, in Facebook's own research, saying, we know you changed how you pick out the content that goes in the home feed," said Haugen. "And now if we don't publish angry, hateful, polarizing, divisive content, crickets." "We have no independent transparency mechanisms," Haugen [said]. "Facebook ... picks metrics that are in its own benefit. And the consequence is they can say we get 94% of hate speech and then their internal documents say we get 3% to 5% of hate speech. We can't govern that."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.