Whistleblower on Facebook decisions: ‘The buck stops with Mark’

During a Senate subcommittee hearing on Monday, Frances Haugen, a former product manager for Facebook, testified that because CEO Mark Zuckerberg holds a controlling interest in the tech giant, “the buck stops with Mark.”

Video transcript

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: Last Thursday, my colleagues and I asked Ms. Davis, who was representing Facebook, about how the decision would be made whether to pause permanently Instagram for Kids. And she said, quote, "There's no one person who makes a decision like that. We think about that collaboratively." It's as though she couldn't mention Mark Zuckerberg's name. Isn't he the one who will be making this decision from your experience in the company?

FRANCES HAUGEN: Mark holds a very unique role in the tech industry in that he holds over 55% of all the voting shares for Facebook. There are no similarly powerful companies that are as unilaterally controlled. And in the end, the buck stops with Mark. There is no one currently holding Mark accountable by himself.

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: And Mark Zuckerberg in effect is the algorithm designer in chief, correct?

FRANCES HAUGEN: I received an MBA from Harvard, and they emphasized to us that we are responsible for the organizations that we build. Mark has built an organization that is very metrics driven. It is intended to be flat. There is no unilateral responsibility. The metrics make the decision.

Unfortunately, that itself is a decision. And in the end, if he is the CEO and the chairman of Facebook, he is responsible for those decisions.

RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: The buck stops with him.

FRANCES HAUGEN: The buck stops with him.