The McCourt Institute will host Frank H. McCourt, Chairman and CEO of McCourt Global; founder of Project Liberty and of the McCourt Institute, for a conversation with data engineer and Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. They will meet with Sciences Po policy students to discuss the variety of issues we face with Big Tech today, and to chart a path forward with tomorrow’s policy leaders.
The event is open in person to Sciences Po students, and will be live streamed on this page publicly to all.
Civic Entrepreneur, Chairman and CEO of McCourt Global Inc., Founder, Project Liberty, and Founder, McCourt Institute
McCourt is also a passionate supporter of multiple academic, civic, and cultural institutions and initiatives. McCourt is the founder of Project Liberty, a visionary initiative to transform the internet through a new, equitable technology infrastructure and rebuild social media in a way that enables users to own and control their personal data. The project includes the creation of the McCourt Institute, with founding partners Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and Sciences Po in Paris, to advance research and develop a governance model for the internet’s next era; and the gifting of a groundbreaking, open-source internet protocol called the Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP), which will be owned by the public and serve as a new web infrastructure. In 2020, McCourt launched and became Chairman and CEO of Unfinished. This initiative aims to strengthen civic life in the digital age by redirecting technology, especially social media, to fuel collaboration over division; renewing and strengthening civic institutions to accelerate inclusive problem-solving; and growing a fairer economy.
Data Engineer and Scientist, Whistleblower
Frances Haugen is a specialist in algorithmic product management, having worked on ranking algorithms at Google, Pinterest, Yelp and Facebook. She was recruited to Facebook to be the lead Product Manager on the Civic Misinformation team, which dealt with issues related to democracy and misinformation, and later also worked on counter-espionage.
During her time at Facebook, Ms. Haugen became increasingly alarmed by the choices the company makes prioritizing their own profits over public safety and putting people's lives at risk. As a last resort and at great personal risk, Haugen made the courageous decision to blow the whistle on Facebook. The initial reporting was done by the Wall Street Journal in what became known as ‘The Facebook Files.’ Since going public, Haugen has testified in front of the US Congress, UK and EU Parliaments, French Senate and National Assembly and has engaged with lawmakers internationally on how best to address the negative externalities of online platforms.
Haugen has filed a series of complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) relating to Meta, Facebook’s parent company, misleading the public and investors on issues such as climate and COVID-19 disinformation. The complaints also argue that platform has misled investors about its role in the January 6 Capital attack, hate speech removal, the impact of its services on teens and the use of the platform for human trafficking.
Fireside chat between Frank McCourt, Chairman & CEO, McCourt Global; founder of Project Liberty; founder of the McCourt Institute and Frances Haugen, Data Engineer and Scientist, Whistleblower
Q&A with students
Launched in early 2022 with founding partners Sciences Po in Paris and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., the McCourt Institute aims to ensure that digital governance is prioritized in the development of new technology and embedded in the next generation of the web. It supports the goals of Project Liberty, a visionary initiative launched by civic entrepreneur, business leader, and philanthropist Frank McCourt in 2021 to transform how the internet works, create a more equitable digital economy, and develop a new civic architecture for the digital world.