Thomas MacaulaySenior reporter
Thomas is a senior reporter at TNW. He covers European tech, with a focus on deeptech, startups, and government policy. Thomas is a senior reporter at TNW. He covers European tech, with a focus on deeptech, startups, and government policy.
Instagram is in the crosshairs of Congress. The social app’s chief, Adam Mosseri, is expected to testify before a Senate panel in the week of December 6.
Mosseri will appear as part of a series of hearings about online safety for kids, The New York Times reports. The hearing will be led by Senator Richard Blumenthal, who heads the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection.
“After bombshell reports about Instagram’s toxic impacts, we want to hear straight from the company’s leadership why it uses powerful algorithms that push poisonous content to children driving them down rabbit holes to dark places, and what it will do to make its platform safer,” Blumenthal said in a statement.
The testimony comes amid growing concerns about Instagram’s effects on young people.
In October, Blumental had called for Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify on the issue, but said Mosseri could appear instead.
Blumenthal said the corporation “failed to act to protect teens because it prioritized its financial bottom line over safety,” citing revelations from whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Haugen’s leaks join mounting evidence about Instagram’s impact on young people, including:
- Internal research showing Instagram makes body image issues worse for teenage girls
- Haugen’s argument that Instagram is “more dangerous than other forms of social media”
- Meta downplaying the significance of its own findings about Instagram’s effects on young users
- Reports that Instagram continued surveilling under-18s for ad targeting after Meta said it would limit how advertisers could reach kids
- An investigation into Meta promoting Instagram to children and teens while knowing the risks
- Plans to build an Instagram Kids product, which have temporarily been paused
While Zuckerberg has previously been grilled by lawmakers about online safety, this will be Mosseri’s first testimony before Congress.
In a video posted on Twitter, the Instagram head said he looked forward to the appearance:
These are important issues, but we all have shared goals. We all want young people to be safe when they’re online.
Lawmakers now have the chance to interrogate Instagram’s approach to these goals.
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