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Facebook grilled by Senate over company's impact on kids

2021-09-30 18:39 by
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US lawmakers pressed Facebook on Thursday about the harmful effects its services could have on young people, especially teenagers, as concern mounts about what the social network knows regarding its impact on users.

Facebook has shared the internal research about the impact of Instagram on teenage mental wellbeing reported on by The Wall Street Journal earlier this month. The Wall Street Journal reported that the files showed Instagram knew the social media network has a negative affect on teens' mental health. Facebook has pushed back on the WSJ's characterizations of its research, saying that "it is simply not accurate that this research demonstrates Instagram is 'toxic' for teen girls."

The documents, some of which have been made public, paint a very different picture of Facebook and Instagram's understanding of how their services impact teens' mental health than what they've publicly portrayed. Those documents are in the hands of lawmakers, making the findings that much harder for Facebook to spin. The disclosures have already forced Facebook to "pause" work on an Instagram Kids app.

Thursday's hearing is one of several the subcommittee has planned. Lawmakers are also seeking answers from other social networks. On Oct. 5, a Facebook whistleblower is scheduled to testify before US lawmakers. The whistleblower, who hasn't been identified, will be interviewed on 60 Minutes on Oct. 3.

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