Facebook chief of Instagram service Adam Mosseri faced a wave of criticism on Thursday when he compared the value of the social network in society to cars.
“We know more people are dying from car accidents, but overall cars create more value in the world than they destroy,” Mosseri said Wednesday on the Recode Media podcast. “And I think social media is the same.”
The comments come after a series of reports this week based on internal Facebook files by the Wall Street Journal. A report in the series released on Tuesday found that Facebook has repeatedly found its Instagram app to be harmful to many teens. Among the results was an internal presentation whereby 32% of teenage girls said Instagram made them feel worse when they felt bad about their bodies.
In the wake of reports, US lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have asked Facebook for answers about how its services are affecting adolescent and child mental health, with some prompting the company to abandon plans to launch a children’s version of Instagram. demand
Mosseri compared Instagram to Cars when podcast host Peter Kafka asked the executive whether the service should be taken down or banned if there was a chance it could actually harm people in the same way. As cigarettes can harm people.
“Not at all, and I really don’t agree with the comparison to drugs or cigarettes, which have very limited or no benefits,” Mosseri said. “Anything that is used on a large scale will have positive and negative consequences. Cars have positive and negative consequences.
Several Twitter users criticized Mosseri for the comparison and pointed out that unlike social media, the auto industry is heavily regulated. Among those criticisms was former Facebook executive Brian Boland.
“We also have rules for cars and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Maybe @mosseri should read dangerous at any speed? »Boland tweeted.
Kafka asked about all car regulations, to which Mosseri replied that he believed social media regulation was needed.
“We think you need to be careful because regulations can create more problems,” Mosseri said on the podcast. “But I think we’re a big industry that’s important, and we need to develop that further.”
Mosseri went on the defensive on Twitter after a wave of criticism, calling the car analogy “less than perfect,” but adding that Facebook executives believe social media connecting people is doing more good than good. wrong.
“The headline culture – which yes, I know, social media has contributed to – is exhausting,” Moserik noted Among his series of tweets Thursday morning.