Facebook has been under fire for months over a series of leaked internal documents provided to lawmakers and the press by an internal company whistleblower. In the documents, it was revealed that the social media giant is aware that its products — including Instagram – can be harmful to young users, yet it hasn’t acted to address the issue. And this week, it’s Instagram’s turn to get grilled by U.S. lawmakers.
Prior to Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri appearing before Congress, the company announced new measures protect young users. These features include a reminder for children to take breaks from scrolling, additional parental control tools, and a security measure to limit the interaction between teens and people they don’t follow. However, some lawmakers believe these features are merely “baby steps,” and that Instagram only introduced them as a token olive branch before it testifies.
“Instagram only takes action to address its harms to kids the day before its CEO is set to testify before my subcommittee,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal tweeted this week. “Make no mistake: these simple time management & parental oversight tools should have—& could have—been implemented long ago.”
Despite being called before similar panels many times, Facebook has yet to face real government regulation of its practices, so it’s doubtful that Instagram will be punished, either. However, it’s still a good thing that the company is being forced to defend its harmful policies on the record.
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