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Facebook will be grilled by U.S. lawmakers on Thursday, alleging that it has buried research showing the toxic effects of its products on young people, sparking a storm of criticism in political circles.
Antigone Davis, global head of security at Facebook, is set to appear before the Senate Commerce Committee as the sole witness for a hearing called Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram and Mental Health Harms.
It follows an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, based on leaked documents from an unnamed whistleblower. Researchers at Facebook have included allegations that using the company’s photo-sharing app Instagram could have a negative effect on the mental health of some teens করা for example, to deepen their focus on body image.
The report suggests that the agency has buried these results despite repeated questions from lawmakers about how it affects young people in particular.
In a separate report, the journal further said that Facebook was looking for ways to capture the pre-teen market as it struggled to keep young users in competition with Snapchat and TickTock, citing insider company documents.
Shares of Facebook, plagued by its biggest public relations crisis since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, fell nearly 10 percent this month and fell from recent changes to Apple’s advertising-targeting policy.
Facebook has sharply criticized the journal’s presentation of its research, accusing the newspaper of “cherry-picking” information and misrepresenting the motives of officials.
The agency released two internal documents cited in the investigation late Wednesday night. This included annotations that limited the proposed results and, in one instance, his own researchers described the language as “myopic”.
Facebook said Tuesday it would stop launching Instagram Kids, a version of the app for children under the age of 13, to give the company time to incorporate the views of policymakers, parents and child protection advocates.
Facebook has indicated that it will eventually move ahead with the plans, arguing that a separate platform could provide additional parental control and better protect children who may otherwise be exposed to harmful content if they lie about their age to use the main platform. . Users must be at least 13 years old to join Instagram or Facebook.
Davis may be asked to address concerns among lawmakers that Facebook’s apps are designed to track children online, expose them to predators, and intentionally indulge in company profits.
According to the journal, Facebook researchers asked, “Is there a way for kids to enjoy play dates for hand / growth sounds?” For a messaging app for kids according to an internal document. In another, it calls Van a “valuable but unused listener”.
Facebook said, “The language we used to describe the research was not well-considered এবং and does not reflect our approach.”
The pressure on the company is unlikely to ease anytime soon. Whistleblower, who recently met with several members of Congress, is ready to reveal his identity on the news program. 60 minutes On sunday.
He will testify at another Senate hearing next week, according to Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal. “It would be critical to understand the testimony of this whistle blower to understand what Facebook knew about the toxic effects of its platform on young users, when they knew it and what they did about it,” said Blumenthal, a member of the Commerce Committee. Wrote On Twitter.