Report reveals Instagram is hurting teen mental health, Facebook official to testify at Senate hearing

Report reveals Instagram is hurting teen mental health, Facebook official to testify at Senate hearing

Facebook has agreed to send Antigone Davis, its global security chief, to testify before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on consumer protection on September 30, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to CNBC.

The Washington Post reported the news earlier Thursday.

The hearing came after the Wall Street Journal published a series of reports detailing internal discussions on Facebook based on documents obtained. One of the articles, which angered lawmakers, revealed that Facebook showing its Instagram app had negatively impacted the mental health of many teenage girls, despite testimonies from senior officials in the past that only highlighted the positive effects of platforms. used to do. MPs from both parties demanded responses from Facebook.

Instagram public policy manager Karina Newton wrote in a blog post following the report that the company is exploring ways to attract users to more uplifting content.

Rank member of the subcommittee, Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Ten. told CNBC last week of the upcoming hearing, saying it expects it to include representatives from Google-owned Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Snap and YouTube. It is not yet clear which companies other than Facebook will be witnesses at next week’s hearing.

A YouTube spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that the company is working to set a date to witness its privacy and child safety policies. According to YouTube, the company first learned of the September 30 hearing date on September 10, which it claims was discovered later than other witnesses. YouTube requested additional time to prepare, but said the request was denied.

A spokesperson for Snap also said the company continues to work with the committee.

Spokesmen for the other named companies did not immediately comment.

Blackburn said in his first interview with CNBC that his staff spoke to a Facebook whistleblower with documents provided to the Journal. The Post reported on Thursday that the whistleblower planned to go public before the end of the year, potentially testifying before Congress, according to an anonymous Blackburn aide.

Blackburn and Facebook spokespersons did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the whistleblower’s possible testimony.

In a hearing earlier this week that was supposed to focus on data and antitrust law, lawmakers instead terminated a Facebook privacy official over a Journal article. Next Thursday’s hearing will give many of those same senators another chance to question Facebook.

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