Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has agreed to testify in front of Congress for the first time as the anger of the parties about the damage caused to young people by the app has increased.
Mr. Mosseri is expected to be a. appear senate Panel on the week of December 6th as part of a series of online child protection hearings, said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who will chair the hearing.
The appearance of Mr. Mosseri follows the hearings this year Antigone Davis, the global security chief of Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, and with Frances Haugen, a former employee who became a whistleblower. Ms. Haugen’s revelations about the social networking company, particularly research by Facebook and Instagram into its impact on some teenagers and young girls, have sparked criticism, inquiries from politicians and investigations from regulators.
In September, Ms. Davis related congress that the company denied the premise that Instagram was harmful to teenagers, noting that the leaked research did not contain causal data. But according to Ms. Haugen’s testimony last month, Mr. Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, who suggests that his company “gave me false or inaccurate statements about attempts to hide its research internally.”
Mr. Blumenthal asked Mr. Zuckerberg or Mr. Mosseri to testify before the Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee to set the matter right.
“He’s the top guy on Instagram, and the whole nation is wondering why Instagram and other technology platforms have caused so much danger and harm by using these immensely powerful algorithms to leak toxic content to kids,” said Mr. Blumenthal, chairman of the Subcommittee. “The hearing will be essential to help us develop laws that can affect making platforms more secure.”
Dani Lever, a meta-spokeswoman, said in a statement, “We are continuing to work with the committee to set a date for Adam to testify about the important steps Instagram is taking.”
Mr Blumenthal said he will interview Mr Mosseri about how Instagram’s algorithms can send kids down dangerous rabbit holes. Since the beginning of Mr. Blumenthal’s subcommittee hearings, lawmakers have heard from hundreds of parents and children who have shared personal anecdotes, including stories about how fitness-related posts became recommendations for content related to extreme diet, eating disorders, and self-harm.
Mr Blumenthal said he will undertake by Mr Mosseri to make Instagram’s ranking and recommendation decisions transparent to the public and to experts who can study how the app amplifies harmful content. Mr Blumenthal said executives from Snap, TikTok and YouTube, all of whom testified in an earlier hearing, are committed to algorithmic transparency.
While Mr. Zuckerberg has got used to being dragged before U.S. lawmakers, Mr. Mosseri will testify under oath for the first time. As the trusted lieutenant of Mr. Zuckerberg, who was elected head of Instagram in 2018, Mr. Mosseri has become the public face of the photo sharing app, regularly providing video announcements of new features and appearing on morning TV shows.
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In September, ahead of Ms. Davis’s Senate hearing, Mr. Mosseri appeared on NBC’s Today Show to announce that Instagram was coming pause development a version of the app designed for children after public backlash and renewed interest from lawmakers sparked by Ms. Haugen’s leaks. BuzzFeed news first reported in March that the company was working on a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.
Mr. Mosseri’s scheduled appearance is the latest fallout from the leaked files of Ms. Haugen, first reported by the Wall Street Journal. These documents, called The Facebook Papers, formed the basis of several complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Meta misled investors about its efforts to protect users.
Last week a bipartisan group of 11 attorneys general announced that they were launched an investigation whether Meta had failed to protect the psychological wellbeing of young people on their platforms including Instagram.