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ACM Opinion

The Facebook Whistleblower Won't Change Anything

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Illustration of white paper heads surrounding one red paper head blowing a red whistle.

Because whistleblowing venerates the single, public, heroic figure, it actively denigrates the less glamorous work necessary to sustain activism.

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Whistleblower Frances Haugen's latest Facebook revelations will have zero impact on regulation—no new laws, regulations, or challenges. And the issue isn't Haugen's testimony or proposals nor the inanity of some of the questions she got in return. Rather, the issue is with the expectations we place on whistleblowing.

In this environment, whistleblowing can't save us, because the issue isn't an absence of information but an absence of will. And what builds will, and shifts norms, isn't a single, isolated figure speaking truth, but mass movements of people setting new standards and making clear there are costs to regulators and companies for not attending to them.

From Wired
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