WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ranking Member and Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, announced that their subcommittee would take additional steps to look into Facebook’s knowledge of its platforms’ negative impact on teenagers and young users, as revealed today in the Wall Street Journal:
“It is clear that Facebook is incapable of holding itself accountable. The Wall Street Journal’s reporting reveals Facebook’s leadership to be focused on a growth-at-all-costs mindset that valued profits over the health and lives of children and teens. When given the opportunity to come clean to us about their knowledge of Instagram’s impact on young users, Facebook provided evasive answers that were misleading and covered up clear evidence of significant harm. We are in touch with a Facebook whistleblower and will use every resource at our disposal to investigate what Facebook knew and when they knew it – including seeking further documents and pursuing witness testimony. The Wall Street Journal’s blockbuster reporting may only be the tip of the iceberg,” said Senators Blackburn and Blumenthal.
In August, Blackburn and Blumenthal wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling on the tech giant to release its internal research on the potentially harmful impact of its platforms – including Instagram Kids – on youth mental health and explain how this research has been used to further promote and market their products to young users.
In May, Blackburn and Blumenthal held a hearing on protecting kids online. With children’s screen time surging on popular apps like TikTok, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram, kids are being exposed to safety and privacy issues including data collection, aggressive marketing, and sexual exploitation.