Why did Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen move to Puerto Rico?

'For the foreseeable future, I'm fine,' Frances Haugen said in a recent interview


                            Why did Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen move to Puerto Rico?
Frances Haugen gained prominence as the Facebook whistleblower earlier this year (Twitter)

Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen quit Facebook in May 2021, following the company dismantling her unit that attempted to address misinformation on the popular platform. She spoke publicly for the first time on October 3, 2021. She voiced her claims about the company "prioritizing divisive content over safety to garner higher profits". The 37-year-old former Facebook employee was even baselessly targetted by Twitter sleuths, who accused Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of 'deliberately' shutting down the social media platforms to avoid 'scandal'.

It appears that Frances Haugen is no longer living anywhere near Silicon Valley, as she moved to her new home in Puerto Rico. However, she clarified that the move was done in March this year, two months prior to quitting Facebook. Talking about the reason for the move, Haugen said, "For the foreseeable future, I'm fine, because I did buy crypto at the right time."

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In a recent interview with New York Times, she further added that she finalized the move in March out of a desire to join her "crypto friends" on the island territory. She also sought a change of place due to a health condition.

In the recent past, Puerto Rico has notably become a hub of cryptocurrency investors for being a tax haven with a lot of perks. The Act 22 law in Puerto Rico, residents living there for at least 6 months a year are exempt from taxes on dividends, interest, and capital gains. In other words, they can smoothly cash in their crypto earnings and other investment returns without much tax restrictions. Top crypto firms like Pantera Capital and NFT marketplace SuperRare have set up their bases in Puerto Rico recently. In fact, YouTube star Logan Paul also recently made the move to the US territory where he has rented a mansion for $55,000 a month. 

It is unclear whether Haugen will qualify for the tax exemption in the current financial year as she had regularly flown to Washington, D.C, and London to meet with lawmakers and testify about Facebook's policies. 

"Facebook, over and over again, chose to optimize for its own interests, like making more money, " Haugen had claimed in the past. After leaving her job at Facebook in May, she leaked a trove of internal Facebook documents to the Wall Street Journal, which led to the publication of a series of damning reports last month. She also sent the documents to lawmakers and filed for whistleblower protection with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Haugen testified in front of the Senate committee on October 5, where she elaborated on the documents and talk about why she believes the government needs to clamp down on Facebook. It is important to note here that Facebook is already facing an anti-trust suit filed by the Federal Trade Commission seeking to force the social media giant to restructure or sell off assets including Instagram and WhatsApp over concerns that "Facebook holds monopoly power in the provision of personal social networking in the United States and has held such power continuously since at least 2011".

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