Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Erin Scott | Reuters
US lawmakers on the other side of the aisle have recently disagreed with virtually nothing.The exception is that the topic is Facebook..
Republican and Democratic Grill Antigone Davis, Facebook Global Security Officer, Thursday, hearing at the Senate Trade Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. Antigone, who testified in the video, was called in to answer questions about Instagram’s impact on the mental health of teens and Facebook’s efforts to build more products for children.
A hearing entitled “Protecting Children Online: Facebook, Instagram, Mental Health Harm” A series of reports from The Wall Street Journal It was based on an internal survey conducted by Facebook researchers earlier this month. These stories reveal that Facebook is aware of the harmful effects of Instagram on the mental health of young users. especially, Facebook’s own study showed 13% of British users and 6% of American users traced their desire to commit suicide to Instagram.
Davis answered the question for nearly three hours and heard several senators comparing Facebook to the tobacco industry. The tobacco industry has known for years that it knows about the dangers associated with the products it sells.
“Facebook is like a big cigarette, pushing products that are known to be harmful to youth health and pushing early will allow Facebook to make money,” D said. -Mass Senator Ed Marquee said.
The highlights of Thursday’s hearing are:
Facebook’s Head of Global Safety, Antigone Davis, spoke at the White House Roundtable on Cybersafety and Technology on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somode Villa | Getty Images
Facebook can’t hold itself accountable
Subcommittee chairman Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) Started the hearing by accusing Facebook of not being able to hold himself accountable. Facebook whistleblowers, who provided the journal articles and documents, “provided deep insight into Facebook’s relentless campaign to recruit and exploit young users,” Blumental said.
“Facebook has publicly denied that Instagram does serious harm to teens, but personally Facebook researchers and experts have been warning for years.” Said Blumental. “Facebook routinely prioritizes interests over children’s online safety, chooses product growth over children’s well-being, and is vulnerable to actions to protect children. I now know that I am in arrears. “
Blumenthal also said Facebook’s documents proved that Facebook wasn’t true in previous communications with the Senator.
He said in August that he and Senator Marsha Blackburn, a ranking member of the subcommittee, wrote to the CEO. Mark Zuckerberg And “Have you ever found that Facebook’s platforms and products are having a negative impact on the mental health and well-being of children and teens?”
“We are not aware that there is consensus among researchers and experts about screen times being too long,” the company said.
“The reaction was simply not true,” Blumental said. “I know that the evidence of harm to teens is substantive and unique to Instagram.”
Senator Ed Markey will speak at the Back the Thrive Agenda press conference at the Longworth office building in Washington, DC on September 10, 2020.
Countess Gemal | Getty Images
Facebook is uncommitted on Instagram Kids
One of the central issues that lawmakers were concerned about on Thursday was Facebook’s Instagram Kids product.
Through a hearing, Senator asked Davis if Facebook promised to shelve Instagram Kids forever.
“Do you promise not to launch a site that includes features such as buttons and followers that allow kids to quantify their popularity?” Marquee asked.
Davis said he was uncommitted and the company would investigate further which features were most meaningful to the child.
“Senator Marquee, these are the kind of features we talk to experts, and we’re actually trying to understand what’s most age-appropriate and what’s not. Of course, we’ll talk to them about those features. “Davis said.
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) attended a hearing of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on September 14, 2021 at Capitol Hill in Washington to consider the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. I asked the Secretary of State.
Bill O’Leary | Pool | Reuters
Facebook cherry picks the research it shares
on Wednesday, Facebook has released two slide decks In a survey on the impact of Instagram on teenage mental health. The company released those decks, knowing that the journal was trying to release all the documents that contributed to the report.
The journal finally released 6 decks, Much more information is generally available than Facebook. The company also often included unreliable annotations on the work of its researchers.
At a hearing, Davis told Senator that the investigation wasn’t complete or the frame was incorrect. Senator Ted Cruz of R-Texas said her answers wouldn’t add up and asked if the company plans to open all studies to the public.
“At the same time you are telling us,’If you know the full study,’ you haven’t published the study, so which is it?” Cruz asked.
According to Davis, the company is in the process of deciding what additional research it can publish.
“So you have carefully selected what you want to show us,” Cruz said.
He then asked Davis about a survey showing the proportion of teenagers in the United States and the United Kingdom who trace suicidal ideation back to Instagram. Davis said these statistics were a false feature of the company’s research.
Senator Richard Blumenthal of D-CT will ask questions at the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee’s hearing on privacy, technology, and law on April 27, 2021 at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
Tassoska Topodis | Pool | Reuters
Big tobacco playbook
In his opening remarks, Blumenthal highlighted Facebook’s findings, showing that many teens are crazy about using Instagram.
“In fact, Facebook uses Big Tobacco’s playbook,” he said. “It hid its own research on addiction and the toxic effects of its products and tried to deceive us in the general public and Congress about what it knew, and it was armed with childhood vulnerabilities to the children themselves. Did.”
Marquee repeated those remarks.
“Instagram is the first childhood cigarette intended to quickly engross teens, harness pressure from popular peers, and ultimately jeopardize their health,” he says. I did.
“We don’t really finsta”
Like all hearings involving Washington DC and Silicon Valley, there was a moment to emphasize that lawmakers had little understanding of the nuances of the Internet.
Towards the end of the hearing, Blumental had the opportunity to ask Davis about “Finsta.” This is a term that refers to an Instagram account that is not associated with someone’s actual identity. Finsta accounts are often used to anonymously snoop other users’ posts.
“Do you promise to end Finsta?” Blumental asked.
Davis paused before answering, “Senator, let me explain again. We are not actually Finsta.”
Blumenthal asks, “Finsta is one of your products or services. I’m not talking about Google or Apple. Is Facebook right?”
“Finsta is a slang term for some accounts,” Davis said.
The conversation is reminiscent of an exchange at 2018 Parliamentary Hearing.. Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch asked Zuckerberg, “How do you maintain a business model where users don’t pay for services?”
Facebook is well known to have become one of the most valuable companies in the world through sophisticated advertising used by most large companies to target potential customers.
“Senator, we’re advertising,” Zuckerberg said.
Senator says Facebook used the Big Tobacco Playbook to exploit children
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