WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ranking Member and Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, will convene a hearing on Tuesday, October 5, 2021 at 10:00 AM titled “Protecting Kids Online: Testimony from a Facebook Whistleblower.” A Facebook whistleblower will testify at the hearing.
“I am grateful to the Facebook whistleblower for their willingness to speak about Facebook’s concerning conduct,” said Blackburn. “From turning a blind eye to the negative impacts of its platforms on teens’ mental health to its inability to police for trafficking, domestic servitude, and other harmful content, Facebook has a lot to account for. I look forward to hearing more from the whistleblower and learning the true account of Facebook’s missteps.”
“This whistleblower’s testimony will be critical to understanding what Facebook knew about its platforms’ toxic effects on young users, when they knew it, and what they did about it,” said Blumenthal. “I look forward to a discussion of the wide range of stunning allegations that have recently been brought to light about the concerning experiences young people are having on these apps. This is one of several hearings I am holding with Senator Blackburn as part of our longstanding efforts to ensure children are protected online, and I look forward to continuing this important work.”
On Thursday, September 30, Blumenthal and Blackburn are holding a hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, & Mental Health Harms,” where they will question Facebook’s Global Head of Safety, Antigone Davis. The September 30 and October 5 hearings come after reporting in the Wall Street Journal on Facebook’s knowledge of its platforms’ negative impact on teenagers and young users.
In August, Blumenthal and Blackburn 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, Blumenthal and Blackburn held a hearing on protecting kids online. With children’s screen time surging on popular apps like Facebook Messenger and Instagram, kids are being exposed to safety and privacy issues including data collection, aggressive marketing, and sexual exploitation.