Instagram chief to testify before Congress on harm to teen mental healthNovember 25, 2021
Mosseri will have to provide the members of Congress with a plan on how Instagram plans to protect its youngest users.
What you need to know
Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri will testify before a Senate panel next month.
A bipartisan group of eleven state attorney generals is investigating how Instagram is harming the lives of children and teens.
Lawmakers expressed concerns over Instagram’s effect on the mental health of teenagers after revelations by former Facebook product manager Frances Haugen earlier this year.
Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has agreed to testify before Congress for the first time, according to The New York Times. Mosseri is set to appear before a Senate panel during the week of December 6.
Senator Richard Blumenthal, chair of the consumer protection subcommittee, told the publication:
He’s the top guy at Instagram, and the whole nation is asking about why Instagram and other tech platforms have created so much danger and damage by driving toxic content to children with these immensely powerful algorithms.
Blumenthal also said that he plans to get Mosseri to commit to making Instagram’s ranking and recommendation algorithms transparent to both the public and experts. Executives at YouTube, TikTok, and Snap, who testified before Congress in a previous hearing, have already committed to algorithmic transparency.
A bipartisan coalition of eleven state attorneys general launched an investigation into Instagram and its effects on the mental health of children and teens last week. The investigation followed reports based on internal Meta documents, which showed that the company was aware that Instagram can cause mental health and body image issues in teenagers.
Antigone Davis, Meta’s global head for safety, had appeared before Congress last month and tried to downplay the internal research that was shared with The Wall Street Journal by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen. Following the hearing, Blumenthal wrote a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking him to appear before Congress and correct the “false or inaccurate testimony” given by Davis.
To address the growing concerns regarding Instagram’s harmful effects on young users, Meta announced last month that it would roll out a bunch of new parental controls and prompts. It is also working on new features that help keep teens away from harmful content.
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