The UK’s data protection watchdog wrote to a Facebook whistleblower, asking for full proof to see if the social networking giant was violating UK law.
Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham told the BBC she wrote to former Facebook employee Frances Haugen.
Ms. Haugen accused the firm of refusing to switch products because executives raise profits more than safety, claiming that the tech giant’s products are “harming children, fueling division and undermining our democracy.”
He produced tens of thousands of pages of internal research papers that he secretly copied before leaving the company.
Ms Haugen will present evidence to a UK parliamentary committee on October 25 that is reviewing the draft Online Safety Act and plans to more stringently regulate tech firms and social media.
However, Ms Denham also said that Ms Haugen would like to see her full proof to examine violations of UK law, particularly with regard to children’s online protection.
“We are looking very closely at what is now publicly available from Frances’ testimony, but I have also written to him to request access to full reports on his allegations,” he told BBC News.
“Because what I want to do with this information is to analyze it from the UK’s perspective – are these harms applicable in the UK, especially through the eyes of children?
“We have introduced a new child code that specifies design considerations to protect children online.
“I want to see if these allegations point to any violations of UK law and then I will take action.”
Facebook denied Haugen’s allegations, and its founder Mark Zuckerberg said its attacks on the company were “misrepresenting” the company’s business.
She said the company “deeply cares about issues such as safety, well-being and mental health” and that the latest evidence Ms. Haugen presented to a US congressional committee “does not reflect the company as we know it”.
“The idea that we prioritize profits over safety and well-being is at the root of these accusations. That’s not true,” he added.