Senators Say Facebook Research Shows Company Knew of Instagram Harm to Teens

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U.S. senators on Thursday grilled Facebook on its plans to better protect young users on its apps. 

The hearings focused heavily on leaked internal research that showed the social media giant was aware of how its app, Instagram, adversely affected the mental health of teens.

Heard before the Senate consumer protection subcommittee, the audit was called after the Wall Street Journal published stories earlier this month about how Facebook knew Instagram caused harm for many many teen girls to feel badly about their self-image. 

Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of safety, disputed the committee and WSJ’s conclusions during the hearing, saying the company would be releasing additional internal studies to come in an effort to be more transparent about findings.

The senators grilled Davis on a number of issues, such as what identifiable data Facebook collects on users under 13 years and to what extent the social media giant views young users as a growth area. Facebook was also asked to confirm whether it knew that Instagram led some children to contemplate suicide.

Davis emphasized that kids under 13 were not allowed on Facebook, adding 0.5% of teens in the company’s research connected their “suicidal ideation” to Instagram, lower than the percentage that the Journal had reported.

For more information, you may view the original story from Reuters.

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