Instagram’s Adam Mosseri Takes Hot Seat Before Senate Committee
WASHINGTON – Instagram chief Adam Moseri will testify before a Senate panel on Wednesday afternoon to protect the social media app from the growing bilateral outrage over the harm done to young users.
This will be Mr Moseri’s first appearance before Congress. He is one of the top executives at Meta, a company formerly known as the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, to testify to lawmakers after internal research leaked by Whistle-Blower leaked that Instagram has a toxic effect on some teenagers.
Lawmakers are expected to grill Mr. Mosseri about the research, which found that one in three teenage girls said the app made her feel bad about her body image. He may also be asked about the app’s built-in technology and whether it sends young users into the rabbit hole of more dangerous and harmful content. Republicans and Democrats say they will also deal with the safety of young users, including the company’s efforts to keep minor users off the site.
“Instagram’s repeated failures to protect children’s privacy have already been exposed before the US Senate,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, the Republican lead on the panel on the Senate Commerce Committee on Consumer Protection. “It simply came to our notice then. I look forward to discussing concrete steps to improve security and data security for our children and grandchildren. “
The hearing starts at 2:30 pm, here is what you need to know before the hearing.
Who is Adam Moseri?
38 year old Mr. Moseri is a longtime executive on Facebook and is considered a close lieutenant to the company’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg. He joined the company as a designer in 2008 and gradually grew to run a news feed that is a central feature of the Facebook app.
In October 2018, just weeks after the sudden resignations of the app’s founders, Kevin Sistrom and Mike Krieger, he was appointed head of Instagram.
Why pay attention to Instagram?
This is the fifth hearing of the Senate Consumer Protection Subcommittee on Protecting Children Online, and TikTok and YouTube officials have already attended. But Instagram came to the attention of lawmakers after former Facebook employee Francis Hogan leaked internal research that revealed some disturbing findings about the toxic role that Instagram plays in the lives of young users, especially teenage girls.
Richard Blumenthal, chairman of the subcommittee and a Democrat from Connecticut, said his office has received hundreds of calls and emails from parents about their negative experiences on Instagram. One parent said that because of her daughter’s interest in Instagram, the app recommended accounts on extreme diet, eating disorders and self-harm.
Mr Blumenthal has included pushing algorithms for such recommendations.
“We want to hear from the company’s leadership why it uses a powerful algorithm that pushes children to a dark place below the rabbit hole and what it will do to secure its platform,” he said.
What does Congress want to achieve?
Lawmakers, including Mr. Blumenthal and Ms. Blackburn, have proposed strong data privacy rules aimed at protecting children, increasing the age limit and enabling young users to delete online information.
How can Mr. Moseri respond?
On Tuesday, Instagram announced new safety features for children. Mr Moseri will probably focus on those new tools, such as the “take a break” feature to limit the amount of time spent online. (TickTalk has the same functionality that appears when users spend more time on the app.)
Mr Moseri is also expected to focus on more positive research showing that Instagram can help young users build online relationships and feel less lonely. And it will support some rules, such as strong child privacy rules.
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