U.S. Senate Grills Facebook over Instagram’s Mental Health Impact on Children

The US Senate on Thursday has grilled Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of safety, on Capitol Hill during a hearing examining the impacts of the company’s products on children.

The Senate’s commerce, science, and transportation subcommittee hearing came after the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) newspaper published articles about how Facebook knew its photo-sharing platform Instagram caused some teenagers, girls in particular, to feel bad about their self-image.

Davis disputed the way the WSJ described what the research showed saying that Facebook was working to release additional internal studies in an effort to be more transparent about its findings.

Facebook’s head of research has issued a rebuttal to the WSJ revelations last week, arguing that the company’s research showing Instagram was toxic for teenage girls was not accurate.

Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal remained unconvinced saying that it is “powerful, gripping, riveting evidence that Facebook knows of the harmful effects of its site on children and that it has concealed those facts and findings.”

The subcommittee scheduled a second hearing on Tuesday and will feature a Facebook whistleblower. The whistleblower is a former Facebook employee who left with tens of thousands of pages of research.

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