Facebook was sharply criticized by members of Congress on Thursday during a hearing on how the social network giant conducted internal research on its Instagram platform and examined how it could be detrimental to the mental health of teenagers.
Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global security, was interrogated for more than three hours, who concealed the results of the Facebook-accused Instagram owner who revealed that the Instagram app was harmful to a significant number of teenagers.
The hearing was called by a Senate subcommittee on consumer protection, product protection and data protection, after a company whistleblower released internal documents about Facebook’s results to the Wall Street Journal.
The document found that Facebook found that Instagram exacerbated body image problems for a significant number of teenage girls and blamed teens for increasing anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that in some cases, the app leads to eating disorders such as suicidal ideation.
During Thursday’s hearing, lawmakers slammed Facebook for its lack of transparency, accusing it of withholding information and claiming to change it, even comparing it to a coverup of the harmful effects of cigarettes in the tobacco industry.
“We are here today because Facebook has shown us again that it is incapable of being accountable to itself,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Con) said in his opening remarks. “This month, a whistle blower came to my office to give information about Facebook and Instagram. Thanks to the documents provided by that whistleblower, as well as extensive public reporting by The Wall Street Journal and others, we now have a deeper insight into Facebook’s relentless campaign to recruit and exploit young users.
“We now know that Facebook regularly puts profits ahead of children’s online safety,” he added. “We know it chooses to grow its products on the welfare of our children, and we now know that it is a crime to protect them defensively.”
Davis denies Blumenthal’s claim while using his platform to protect Instagram’s efforts to protect young people and condemns the way the study has been shown through the news.
He further acknowledged that questions have been raised about the company’s internal research, noting that it was “conducted to better understand the experience of young people on Instagram.”
“We strongly disagree with the nature of our work in this report, so we want to be clear about what the study shows and what it does not show,” Davis said in a written statement. “We did this to let teens have an internal conversation about the most negative perceptions of Instagram.” “It did not measure the causal relationship between Instagram and real-world issues.”
“We think deeply about the safety and security of the people on our platform,” Davis said. “We take the matter very seriously. We provide multiple protections to create a safe and age-appropriate experience for 13 to 17 year olds. ”
Amid growing scrutiny, Instagram has halted plans to create an Instagram product for children under the age of 13, with 44 state attorney generals from both parties calling for their plans to be scrapped, citing recent internal results regarding the impact of Instagram on adolescents’ mental health. By
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, wrote in a September 27 blog post that the company still believes that creating versions for children is “the right thing to do”, but “stop working” in consultation with parents, experts and policymakers.
The break will give us time to work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators, to listen to their concerns and to show the value and importance of this project to today’s young teens, ”Moseri wrote.
Jacqueline Steiber and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times