Two top lawmakers on the Senate Commerce Committee’s panel on consumer protection said they were launching an investigation into Facebook after the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the company knew Instagram could harm teenage girls.
Censors Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) announced their investigation on Facebook in a statement released Tuesday. The senators said they were in contact with “a Facebook whistleblower” and would seek new documents and witness testimony from the company related to the reporting.
“It is clear that Facebook is unable to hold itself accountable. The Wall Street Journal report shows that Facebook’s leadership is focused on a growth mindset at all costs, which values the benefits on the health and lives of children and teens. In their knowledge of Instagram’s impact on young users, Facebook provided misleading answers that were misleading and covered up clear evidence of significant harm.”
House lawmakers also criticized Facebook over the Journal’s new reporting, and Republicans also issued a new amendment calling for a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation to address the effects of technology on teens. Rape. Gus Billirkis (R-FL) introduced the measure that would direct the Federal Trade Commission to “go after unfair and deceptive acts or practices by social media that target the mental health and privacy of our children.” Modification failed.
“Big Tech has become the new Big Tobacco. Facebook is lying about how their products harm teens,” Representative Ken Buck (R-CO), the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, said in a tweet.
Ed Markey (D-MA), Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), and Lori Trahan (D-MA) wrote a letter to Facebook on Wednesday calling on the company to drop its plans. Launch an Instagram app for kids in light of the report.
“Children and adolescents are uniquely vulnerable populations online, and these findings paint a clear and disastrous picture of Instagram as an app that poses a significant threat to the well-being of young people,” the lawmakers wrote.