Since 2017, The Signals Network has been protected whistleblowers who have shared corporate wrongdoing and human rights violations with the press.
The Signals Network is committed to maximizing the impact of these whistleblower revelations and journalism investigations. The Signals Network publishes the fruits of its media collaborations on its own platforms and builds advocacy coalitions and campaigns on major wrongdoings revealed by its partner media organizations.
TSN supports whistleblowers as they advocate for change. But TSN is not an advocacy group for specific causes other than better protections for whistleblowers. Below are case studies and testimonials of some of our public work. TSN supports many additional anonymous whistleblowers.
Anika Navaroli: Gave information to Congress about Twitter’s role in Jan. 6
Anika Navaroli was the most senior expert on Twitter’s U.S. safety policy team at the time of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol in 2021, and has since provided information to Congress about the social media platform’s role in the attack. TSN represents Navaroli and provides her with support through its Whistleblower Protection Program.
In September 2022, Navaroli went public in an exclusive interview with Washington Post reporter Drew Harwell as one of the two Twitter whistleblowers who gave evidence to the U.S. House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack.
Shortly after, she was awarded the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling for her courage in coming forward to speak truth to the committee.
In February 2023, Navaroli testified before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Accountability during a hearing titled ”Protecting Speech from Government Interference and Social Media Bias, Part 1: Twitter’s Role in Suppressing the Biden Laptop Story.” She told the Committee that “Twitter’s leadership bent and broke their own rules in order to protect some of the most dangerous speech on its platform.” She warned: “If we do not fix social media, January 6th will happen again.”
Additionally, Navaroli was recently featured in Harper’s Bazaar, and was a featured panelist at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia Italy. In June, she will speak at the 2023 RightsCon Summit in Costa Rica.
“My truth-telling journey would never have been possible without The Signals Network’s help. They need continued support for the people who come next.”
— Anika Navaroli
Mark MacGann: Ex-Uber executive who released the Uber Files
Mark MacGann, former head of public policy at Uber and the whistleblower behind the Uber Files, was a senior executive at Uber from 2014 to 2016. In 2022, he provided more than 124,000 internal Uber documents detailing Uber’s lobbying tactics and its relationship with drivers to The Guardian and International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ 42 media partners in 29 countries.
TSN is providing legal and advocacy support for Mark MacGann.
In October 2022, MacGann testified at the European Parliament in favor of the EU Directive on improving conditions in platform work. He is encouraging all states to support its passage and implementation.
MacGann has since testified to the lawmaking bodies of Belgium, France and the Netherlands regarding findings in the Uber Files, including the consequences of Uber’s aggressive lobbying tactics and the company’s unorthodox relationships with local authorities and politicians in those countries.
Additionally, MacGann was a guest speaker at the Web Summit in November 2022 in Lisbon, and was a featured panelist at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia Italy.
“I was the one in the room. I helped sell a lie. … At some point, you realize, ‘I can’t live with this.”
— Mark MacGann
Daniel Motaung: Ex-Facebook content moderator now suing Meta for human trafficking
Daniel Motaung is a former content moderator and whistleblower who raised the alarm on the abusive working conditions at Facebook’s Kenyan outsourcing content moderation company, Sama.
He developed PTSD, anxiety and severe depression from the $2-per-hour job, which required watching hours of graphic content each day from across Sub-Saharan Africa including videos of beheadings and abuse. When he tried to mobilize over 100 of his colleagues to fight for better working conditions in 2019, he was fired.
TSN provided legal support to Motaung, which allowed him to safely share major public interest revelations with Time reporter Billy Perrigo, who subsequently published the front-cover February 2022 issue story, “Inside Facebook’s African Sweatshop” featuring Motaung and another whistleblower who received support from TSN. Motaung was later named in TIME100Next, a list that recognizes “emerging leaders from around the world who are shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership.”
TSN continues to provide Motaung with ongoing psychological support and supports him as he advocates for reform in the content moderation industry. In June 2022, Motaung met with members of U.K. Parliament to push for changes to the industry. In February 2023, Motaung spoke at UNESCO’s global “Internet for Trust” Conference in Paris about his ideas for industry reform.
TSN’s partner Foxglove represents Motaung as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Facebook’s parent company Meta and Sama, accusing the companies of human trafficking and union busting. A Kenyan court ruled in February 2023 that the lawsuit can proceed. Facebook has appealed.
On May 1, 2023, Motaung spoke at a mass summit with more than 150 content moderators working for Facebook, TikTok and ChatGPT who gathered to vote to unionize.
“I once was dead inside. To live again, I needed to speak out – but because I had no one in my corner before The Signals Network, I couldn’t, and so I was dying a silent death. One day, just when I thought it was all over for me, The Signals Network came along and gave me the support and protection I needed to speak out, and I began to live again!”
— Daniel Motaung
Hugo: Exposed environmental wrongdoing in nuclear power plant
Hugo is the alias of a nuclear engineer who filed complaints to his superiors, regulators and finally the court alleging that the French nuclear power provider, EDF, had breached environmental code, and covered up incidents of malfunction at one of its main plants. The provider’s secretive practices put the entire French population at risk.
TSN began providing legal support to protect Hugo and help coordinate media coverage even before his story was published in Le Monde in November 2021. Quickly after, Hugo’s revelations against EDF had caught the attention of the French Parliament and Senate. Since then, French prosecutors have investigated Hugo’s allegation independently, adding their own charges and ordering a raid of the nuclear plant and regulator’s office in September 2022.
“In addition to logistical and financial support and its network of media and lawyers, The Signals Network provides me with essential psychological support, without which I would not have had the strength to continue… for all of that: thank you!”
EdTech Exposed: Human Rights Watch media collaborative investigation
In 2022, TSN coordinated the media reporting of Human Rights Watch’s ground-breaking international research showing that EdTech products monitor children without the consent of the children or their parents. TSN worked with more than 25 investigative journalists on six continents and seven languages, providing them with early access to the report, data, and technical evidence on alleged violations of children’s rights by governments that endorsed education technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reporting — which was collectively called EdTech Exposed — was coordinated to maximize impact internationally and locally. TSN worked closely with HRW and the reporting teams over six weeks to make sure each outlet had specific information for their region as well as access to the researchers themselves. With each outlet able to shape the reporting to the local context, the stories resulted in real impact.
In India, for example, the government took a rare step by acknowledging fault and committing to do better. In Brazil, Human Rights Watch launched a follow-up investigation that resulted in a state government removing all surveillance tracking from its EdTech website. The subsequent coverage by 350 media outlets pressured an EdTech company to act within 24 hours of publication to protect its students’ data privacy. Other countries and regions such as France, Catalonia and Indonesia have also made changes in response to EdTech Exposed. READ MORE
“Media working together on a coordinated investigation increases the number of people reached by the critical information and allows media to focus on different aspects of the story. Importantly, we believe that major stories impacting people around the world should be reachable and readable by people impacted by them.”
— Delphine Halgand-Mishra, Executive Director of The Signals Network.
Whistleblower and President of the Board of the Freedom of the Press Foundation
“When I came sources had to forward with the mass surveillance revelations in 2013, try and patch together this kind of reporting infrastructure journalist by journalist, in total secrecy, and with crude tools. Protecting the public shouldn’t be that hard. The Signals Network is sending a message to whistleblowers that this time, the newsroom is ready. Exposing wrongdoing has never been easier.”
“Deciding what to tell and to who can be paralyzing, and whistleblowers should not have to navigate these decisions in a vacuum. You need someone you can trust, who can connect you to resources, and who can help navigate through the legal, ethical, and personal issues associated with whistleblowing. I wish The Signals Network existed back in 2014.”
UBS leak Whistleblower
“Since I blew the whistle at UBS ten years ago, I have been exposed to many different levels of pressure. Being identified as a truth teller in our democracies means nothing else but retaliation, ostracization and loneliness. I wish I could have been provided support from an organization such as The Signals Network Foundation. Because exposing wrongdoings is in each citizens interest.”
The Luxleaks whistleblower
“The Signals Network offers to selected whistleblowers six levels of protection: legal support, confidentiality, psychological support, media relations management, advocacy, and temporary retreat. I wish I could have benefitted from such support.”
Ex-CIA Analyst / The waterboarding whistleblower
“Telling the truth can not be a crime in a democratic society. The Signals Network Foundation, by providing support to whistleblowers and tied partnership with the medias will encourage it. That is what we need.”
Whistleblower, Football Leaks and Luanda Leaks
“The journey I’m going through is surely less difficult because of the impressive work of the Signals Network. The Signals Foundation has been by my side throughout this last year, never giving up on me, namely compensating my lawyers who work tirelessly to defend my rights.”
Chinese authorities whistleblower
“[Others] shouldn’t feel alone if they do the right thing. There’s always nice people out there helping them if they’re in a situation like mine, and I really appreciate how The Signals Network has helped me.”
Facebook has expanded faster than they can keep their platform safe. We need change. Thank you to the whistleblowers who took great risk & @TheSignalsNetw for supporting them. I urge the passage of strong whistleblower protections, so people can continue speaking out.