Lawmakers to Grill Head of Instagram Over Platform’s Negative Effects on the Youth

In a hearing on Wednesday, lawmakers from the Senate Commerce subcommittee for consumer protection will grill Adam Mosseri, chief of Instagram. The hearing will focus on the impact of social media on teens and children.

This issue is rare to find bipartisan agreement, with both sides hammering online platforms in protest of what they critics claim are their effects on depression, anxiety, and body image among young Americans.

Despite the fact that there is agreement on the problem and new legislation has not yet gained significant momentum, solutions to the problem in the form of legislation have not gained any meaningful momentum.

Since Meta documents were leaked, Instagram has been a focal point in discussions about adolescent social networks. They showed that Meta had internal knowledge of the potential harm to young users’ mental well-being.

The Wall Street Journal first reported on one slideshow that showed results from a survey where 1 in 3 teenage girls said Instagram had made their body issues worse.

This discovery, along with Frances Haugen’s claims, sparked a furious debate on Capitol Hill.

Meta originally sent Antigone Davis, head of global safety, to answer questions at an earlier hearing. But Mosseri eventually agreed to testify.

Wednesday will be Mosseri’s first appearance in Congress. He was appointed head of Instagram in 2018, after its co-founders quit Facebook.

An ex-product designer at Facebook, the former Facebook representative previewed his strategy Tuesday morning by announcing a new set of features that will help protect young users.

Instagram will notify teens in the U.S., Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland to turn on “Take A Break” starting Tuesday. This feature will alert users if they scroll too long on the app.

Teens will be able to bulk delete comments, posts and likes from one location.

The platform claims to offer new tools to parents to monitor their children’s social media use and place restrictions on the content it recommends for teens.

“This is a hollow ‘product announcement’ in the dead of night that will do little to substantively make their products safer for kids and teens. But my colleagues and I see right through what they are doing,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

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