Instagram head agrees to testify before Congress on child safety fearsNovember 24, 2021
Facebook whistleblower: buck stops with Zuckerberg
Testifying before Congress, a former Facebook data scientist accused the company of being aware of apparent harm to some teens from Instagram and being dishonest in its public fight against hate and misinformation. (Oct. 5)
After an onslaught of requests, Instagram head Adam Mosseri will testify before Congress next month as the popular photo-sharing app continues to face scrutiny from lawmakers about its effect on young people.
Mosseri will appear before a Senate subcommittee during the week of Dec. 6, as part of a series of discussions on ways to protect children online, an aide to Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, chair of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security, said Wednesday.
“After bombshell reports about Instagram’s toxic impacts, we want to hear straight from the company’s leadership why it uses powerful algorithms that push poisonous content to children driving them down rabbit holes to dark places, and what it will do to make its platform safer,” said Blumenthal in a written statement.
Mosseri’s testimony will be the first by a high-ranking executive at Meta, the social media company formerly known as Facebook, and since documents provided to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Congress by attorneys for Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee. A consortium of 17 news organizations, including USA TODAY, obtained redacted copies of them.
The Backstory: 17 news orgs teamed up to examine the Facebook Papers. We found struggles with sex trafficking, hate speech, misinformation.
More Facebook: Facebook fed posts with violence and nudity to people with low digital literacy
Facebook changes name to Meta: Mark Zuckerberg announces company rebrand as it moves to the metaverse
Last month, Blumenthal wrote a letter to Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg asking him or Mosseri to testify about the photo- and video-sharing platform’s harm to kids, citing Haugen’s testimony and her leaked Facebook internal documents. Haugen said kids who use the social media platforms do not have good “self-regulation.”
Blumenthal’s request has been one of many that lawmakers have made to the company demanding they meet with them after plans to create an Instagram for kids app they said would exploit kids’ overall well-being. The demands intensified after Haugen’s leak and subsequent testimony in front of Congress.
In a tweet, Mosseri said Wednesday that as a father of three kids, he feels an extra responsibility to keep Instagram safe for young people. Mosseri said he looks forward to the conversation with Congress as they have some “shared goals.”
“We all want young people to be safe when they’re online so I look forward to these conversations,” Mosseri said, “and you’re going to hear more from us about safety, not only at Instagram but at Meta more broadly.”