Congress criticizes Facebook for effects of Instagram on children’s hearing mental health
This is what US Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) claimed the IG in Instagram really represented to a Hearing at Congress on the effects of Facebook on children’s mental health.
The Senate Consumer Protection Subcommittee on Thursday asked Facebook’s global security chief Antigone Davis about the own research. The documents were disclosed to the Wall Street newspaper, who found that “Instagram is harmful to a significant percentage of [teens], especially teenage girls. “
Senator Markey was also not done with Instagram with his pun. “Instagram is that first childhood cigarette meant to get teens hooked early on,” Markey said.
The Massachusetts senator asked Facebook’s Davis if the company promised not to include features like “like” numbers and subscriber counts on any service marketed to children. Social media popularity markers have created problems in children, such as depression and anxiety.
However, the Facebook representative would not engage, saying the company would continue to investigate the issue.
In response, Senator Markey recommended that Facebook fire all of its paid researchers to investigate the problem if the company felt more research was needed. “It’s pretty obvious to all the mothers and fathers in our country,” said Senator Markey.
Markey went on to ask Davis to ban influencer marketing to children, another policy suggestion that Facebook did not commit to during the hearing.
The senator criticized Facebook’s global security officer for not having answers to what he considered very obvious questions.
But Davis’s lack of response allowed Senator Markey to bring up the CHILDREN Act, a bill that he reintroduces and that targets online content for children.
The KIDS law enacts protections for online users under the age of 16 at the federal level. It would ban companies from using certain features, such as autoplay or push alerts, on platforms targeting children. It would also ban certain types of content, including influencer marketing media where hosts attempt to promote and sell products to children.
“If Facebook has taught us anything, it’s that self-regulation is not an option,” said Senator Markey.
Subcommittee chair Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) joined Markey at the start of the hearing with harsh criticism of the social media company.
According to Blumenthal, her congressional staff set up their own experiment and set up an Instagram account identifying themselves as a 13-year-old girl. He told Davis that the account was inundated with recommendations for “extreme diets” and eating disorders within a day.
Before the hearing, Facebook published some data from its research in order to defend itself. Facebook has insisted that the data has been misinterpreted by the media, and that its own research actually shows that Instagram has helped teens with issues such as loneliness, anxiety, sadness, and eating disorders.
However, the fallout from this research led Facebook to halt its plans to publish a Kids Instagram for children under 13.