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Monday, December 6, 2021

The head of Instagram agrees to testify while Congress examines the app’s impact on young people.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, has agreed to testify before Congress for the first time as the anger of the two parties heats up over the app harming young people.

Mr Mosseri is expected to appear in front of the Senate panel during the week of December 6 as part of a series of hearings on child protection online, said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who will chair the hearings.

Mr Mosseri’s appearance follows a hearing this year with Antigone Davis, global chief of security for Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, and Francis Haugen, a former employee turned whistleblower. Ms. Haugen’s disclosures about the social network, in particular Facebook and Instagram research on its impact on some teens and young girls, have drawn criticism, requests from politicians and investigations from regulators.

In September, Ms Davis told Congress that the company was challenging the suggestion that Instagram is harmful to teens, and noted that the leaked study did not contain any causal data. But following Ms. Haugen’s testimony last month, Mr. Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive officer, suggesting that his company “has provided me with false or inaccurate testimony regarding attempts to hide its research from the inside. … “

Mr Blumenthal asked Mr Zuckerberg or Mr Mosseri to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee’s Consumer Protection Subcommittee to make it clear.

“He’s the top guy on Instagram, and the entire nation is wondering why Instagram and other technology platforms have created so much danger and damage by passing toxic content to children through these extremely powerful algorithms,” said Mr Blumenthal, chairman of the subcommittee. “Hearings will be critical as they help us develop laws that can have an impact on making platforms more secure.”

Dani Lever, spokeswoman for Meta, said in a statement, “We are continuing to work with the committee to find a date when Adam will testify on important steps Instagram is taking.”

Mr Blumenthal said he will ask Mr Mosseri about how Instagram’s algorithms can send kids to dangerous rabbit holes. Since Mr. Blumenthal’s subcommittee began a series of hearings, lawmakers have heard from hundreds of parents and children who have shared personal anecdotes, including stories of how fitness messages turned into content advice on extreme diet, eating disorders behavior and self-harm.

Mr Blumenthal said he will press for a commitment from Mr Mosseri to make Instagram ratings and recommendations transparent to the public and experts who can study how the app amplifies malicious content. Blumenthal said executives at Snap, TikTok, and YouTube, who all testified at the previous hearing, are committed to algorithmic transparency.

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Zuckerberg is used to being dragged in front of American lawmakers, but this will be the first time Mr. Mosseri will testify to them under oath. A trusted assistant to Mr. Zuckerberg, who was selected to be the CEO of Instagram in 2018, Mr. Mosseri became the public face of the photo-sharing app, regularly posting video announcements of new features and appearing on morning TV shows.

In September, ahead of Ms Davis’s Senate hearing, Mr Mosseri appeared on the NBC Today Show to announce that Instagram was suspending development of a version of the app aimed at children due to public backlash and renewed interest from lawmakers sparked by leaks by Ms. Haugen. BuzzFeed News first reported in March that the company is working on a version of Instagram for kids under 13.

The planned appearance of Mr. Mosseri is the latest consequence of the leaked files of Ms. Haugen, which were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. These documents, dubbed The Facebook Papers, have led to numerous complaints to the SEC that Meta misled investors about its efforts to protect users.

Last week, a bipartisan group of 11 state attorneys general announced an investigation into whether Meta was unable to protect the mental well-being of young people on its platforms, including Instagram.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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