Adam Mosseri, Instagram CEO will appear for the first time in front of a Senate hearing committee as part of proceedings regarding the safety of kids and teens on the internet on the 6th of Dec. Mosseri’s decision to testify follows a letter from Sen. Richard Blumenthal, requesting either the CEO of Facebook or Instagram to appear before the Senate.
Mosseri posted a video where he announced his upcoming appearance at the Senate House, saying the security of children and teens was a growing concern for everyone and Instagram has taken certain measures to ensure that the internet is a safe place for kids. He added that Instagram is particular about young people’s safety while on the internet, which is why it made children’s accounts private by default and as a result restrict the kind of adverts they view.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation took the matter seriously when a report leaked that Instagram was aware of its harmful effects on underage girls. The head of security of Facebook, Antigone Davis, who was first questioned refused to respond to the probing of the committee.
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former civic integrity product manager revealed thousands of internal memos known as the Facebook Papers and told the Senate during her hearing that Facebook is more concerned with money than with user safety.
Senator Blumenthal, Chair of the Senate committee hearings, noted his disappointment at Facebook’s rigidity and lack of transparency especially as it concerns the impact of the application on teens’ mental health and addiction.
According to a Facebook internal survey obtained by The Wall Street Journal, one in every three young girls has body image concerns, and that youth blame Instagram for their anxiety and despair. Also, 6 percent of users with suicidal thoughts connected their intention to die by suicide to Instagram. Furthermore, 32% of teen girls surveyed said that when they felt horrible about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.
Following this report and the hearing from executives from Snap, TikTok, and YouTube earlier this month, the committee will reconvene to hear from Instagram’s CEO. And the possibilities are high that the committee would grill Mosseri on the content of the Internal memo, revolving around the impact of the app on teenage girls.
Mosseri That the company would halt the development of Instagram kids following the leakage of the report. Adding that while the company believes and stands by its product and its safety for kids, it will pause work on it, to carry parents, experts, policymakers and regulators along, to ensure the project adds value to its target audience.