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Instagram head to testify before Senate subcommittee about the platform’s impact on kids

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The testimony will mark Mosseri’s first appearance before Congress. It also makes him the most prominent executive of Meta, the social media company formerly known as Facebook, which agrees to testify from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked hundreds of internal company documents. Some of these documents showed that the company’s own researchers have found that Instagram can damage the mental health and body image of young users and can aggravate dangerous behaviors such as eating disorders.
“After explosive reports on the toxic impacts of Instagram, we want to hear directly from the company’s leadership why it uses powerful algorithms that drive poisonous content to children who drive them through rabbit holes to dark places, and what it will do to do make your platform more secure. ” Senator Richard Blumenthal, who chairs the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security, said in a statement to CNN Business. Blumental previously convened Mosseri or Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify about the impact of Instagram on children.

“We all want young people to be safe when they’re online, so I look forward to these conversations,” he said, “and you’ll hear more about us about safety, not just on Instagram but on Meta more broadly.”

In a statement to CNN Business, Meta spokeswoman Dani Lever said: “We continue to work with the committee to find a date for Adam. [Mosseri] to witness the important steps Instagram is taking. “

The New York Times was first to report Mosseri had agreed to testify.
State attorneys general are initiating an investigation into the impact of Instagram on children, owned by Meta
The audience announcement comes amid regulatory pressure Meta (FB) and Instagram. Last week, a bipartisan group of state attorneys general initiated an investigation about the potential harms of Instagram for kids and teens. (Meta has said the allegations made by Attorneys General are false.) Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost also sued Meta for allegedly misleading the public about its algorithm and the damage its applications can cause to users, a lawsuit the company says has no merit.
The Wall Street Journal first informed in September on what internal documents and the company’s research on the impact of Instagram on young people show. The report said Facebook knew Instagram was “toxic” to teens. Meta has dismissed reports from the Journal and said its applications do better than harm.

In September, lawmakers held a hearing with Facebook’s head of global security, Antigone Davis, where lawmakers spoke to her about the effects of Instagram on children. Although Davis said the company was “looking for ways to release more research” that suggested it could paint a different picture of the platform, he was criticized for not agreeing more firmly to post more internal information about the platform.

The company announced that it was pausing plans to develop a version of Instagram designed for children in late September, amid the aftermath of the Journal report.

Instagram has also noted its other efforts to develop features to protect young people, including Reminder “Take a break.”, which was announced in October amid intense scrutiny. In his Twitter video on Wednesday, Mosseri also talked about tools such as “hidden words,” which gives users more control over what people can say in their direct messages and comments. He added that the company is also creating controls for parents to limit the time their children spend on the app.

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