Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, is due to testify before the Senate council in December. He will appear at a series of online child protection hearings held by the subcommittee on consumer protection during the week of December 6th.
“He’s the best guy on Instagram, and the whole nation wonders why Instagram and other technology platforms have created so much danger and damage by bringing toxic content to children with these immensely powerful algorithms,” Senator Richard Blumenthal, who chairs the subcommittee, said. New York Times.
Mosseri will testify after the discovery of whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager. Haugen told the panel last month that a survey conducted by Facebook found that “ranking based on engagement on Instagram can lead children from very harmless topics like healthy recipes … to content that promotes anorexia in a very short period of time.” Last month, Antigone Davis, global head of security at parent company Instagram Meta, downplayed recent reports based on internal Facebook documents, which indicated that Instagram could negatively affect the mental health of teenagers and young girls.
After Davis testified, Blumenthal wrote to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking him or Mosseri to testify. In his letter to Zuckerberg, Blumenthal suggested that the company “gave me false or inaccurate testimony about attempts to internally conceal its research.”
This will be the first time Mosseri has testified before Congress. Blumenthal plans to ask Mosseri to commit to making Instagram’s ranking algorithms and recommendations transparent, in part so experts can examine whether and how the platform promotes potentially harmful content. The senator noted that the leaders of Snap, TikTok and YouTube made similar commitments after testifying at a previous hearing. Blumenthal also said he would ask Mosseri about Instagram’s referral systems and how they can take children “into dangerous rabbit holes”.
A group of state prosecutors is also investigating how Instagram affects teenagers. Meta Global Affair vice president Nick Clegg recently announced that Instagram will encourage teenagers to “rest” from the app and try to distract them from harmful content.
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