Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s Head, Agrees to Testify Before Congress
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, has agreed to testify before Congress for the first time, as bilateral anger grows over the app’s harms to young people.
Mr. Mosseri is expected to appear before a Senate panel in the week of December 6 as part of a series of hearings on online child protection, said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who will lead the hearing.
After a hearing this year with Antigone Davis and former employee Francis Hogan, the global head of security at Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, Mr. Moserie attended. Ms Hogan’s revelations about the social networking company, especially some of her teenage and young girls’ research on Facebook and Instagram, drew criticism, prompted inquiries from politicians and probe by regulators.
In September, Ms. Davis told Congress that the company had disputed that Instagram was harmful to adolescents, noting that the leaked research did not contain causal data. But after Ms. Hogan’s testimony last month, Mr. Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, wrote a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggesting that his company had “given me false or false testimony about attempts to conceal his research.”
Mr Blumenthal said Mr Zuckerberg or Mr Moseri should testify before the Consumer Protection Subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee to straighten out the record.
“He’s the top man on Instagram, and the whole country is asking why Instagram and other technology platforms have created so much danger and harm to children with this hugely powerful algorithm,” said Mr. Blumenthal said. . “The hearing will be crucial to guide us in developing laws that affect the security of the platform.”
Meta spokesman Danny Lever said in a statement: “We are working with the committee to find a date for Adam to testify about the important step he is taking on Instagram.”
Mr Blumenthal said he would ask Mr Moseri questions about how Instagram’s algorithms could send children into dangerous rabbit holes. Since Mr. Blumenthal’s subcommittee began a series of hearings, lawmakers have heard from hundreds of parents and children who have shared personal stories, including stories about how the post on fitness developed into recommendations for content related to extreme diet, eating disorders and self-harm.
Mr. Blumenthal said he was pleased to announce that Instagram’s rankings and recommendations are open to the public and to experts who can study how the app promotes harmful content. They will ask Moseri for a commitment. Mr. Blumenthal said officials at Snap, TikTok and YouTube, who testified at previous hearings, were committed to algorithmic transparency.
While Mr Zuckerberg is accustomed to standing before US lawmakers, this will be the first time Mr Moseri has been sworn in as a witness. Mr. who was chosen to lead Instagram in 2018. Zuckerberg’s loyal lieutenant, Shri. Moserie has become the public face of the photo-sharing app, hosting regular video announcements about new features and appearing on morning television shows.
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In September, before Ms. Davis’s Senate hearing, Mr. Moseri appeared on NBC’s Today show to announce that Instagram would halt the development of a version of the app designed for children due to public reaction and public interest created by Ms. Hogan’s leak. BuzzFeed News first reported in March that the company was working on a version of Instagram for children under 13.
Mr. Mosseri’s planned appearance is the latest result from Ms. Hogan’s leaked files, first reported by the Wall Street Journal. The document, called The Facebook Papers, has led to a number of complaints to the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging that the meta misleads investors about its efforts to protect users.
Last week, a bipartisan group of 11 state attorney generals announced that Meta had launched an inquiry into whether it had failed to protect the mental health of young people on its platform, including Instagram.
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