ugc_banner

US lawmakers grill Facebook over teen mental health

WION Web Team
NEW DELHIUpdated: Oct 01, 2021, 01:40 PM IST

20-year-old mom accidentally lists her baby for sale Photograph:(Reuters)

Story highlights

This comes after a leak exposed how Instagram's research had found the platform could harm children’s well-being. Earlier, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said the app's effects on teenagers' mental health were "quite small"

US lawmakers grilled Facebook over the potential harm its services are causing and its impact on the mental health of children. 
However, Facebook has defended the impact of its products, saying Instagram has "affirmatively helped" young people. Its global head of safety, Antigone Davis, testified to the US Senate, about child protection.

This comes after a leak exposed how Instagram's research had found the platform could harm children’s well-being. Earlier, Instagram boss Adam Mosseri said the app's effects on teenagers' mental health were "quite small".

The committee started by reiterating Facebook's own research which said that Instagram could have a negative impact on body image and self-esteem.

Teenagers "blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression", it said.
Davis was quoted by The BBC as saying, "We conduct this research, to make our platform better, to minimise the bad and maximise the good and to proactively identify where we can improve."

"We want our platforms to be a place for meaningful interactions with friends and family and we cannot achieve that goal if people do not feel safe."

Richard Blumenthal chairs the Senate commerce, science, and transportation subcommittee on consumer protection, product safety, and data security, highlighted how Facebook had earlier denied it was aware of any research that showed a negative correlation.

He said, "We know it chooses the growth of its products over the well-being of our children". 

He further added, "And we now know that it is indefensibly delinquent in acting to protect them."
"It is failing to hold itself accountable and the question that haunts me is how can we or parents or anyone trust Facebook."

Davis repeatedly failed to answer the committee's questions and said she would have to check with the relevant Facebook teams.