Facebook’s been under increased scrutiny for some time now, which has thrown its cohorts (or other Meta-owned products) into a similar examination. Instagram has been specifically panned recently for its potentially harmful effects on its teenaged userbase, which Meta was reportedly aware of.
In light of this, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri will soon appear before US Congress to discuss his app’s effect on teenagers, on the 6th of December.
Instagram gets its day in court
This isn’t the first time a Meta (formerly Facebook, Inc.) bigshot has faced US Congress. We’ve all seen the memes from Zuckerberg’s several visits.
The reason for Congress’ sudden interest in Mosseri links back to whistleblower Frances Haugen’s leaking of internal Facebook/Meta documents. Amongst these were several internal studies concerning Instagram’s effect on teenagers’ mental health, with the major conclusion being, “It could be pretty bad.”
Meta critics have since latched onto this as a bolstering point for their arguments against the company and its products. The immediate effect was that lawmakers demanded that the company halt and cancel its rollout of ‘Instagram for Kids’.
Meta, naturally, disputes any evidence that says Instagram could be harmful and even dangerous for young users, pointing out flaws with its own research. Mosseri’s goal is, effectively, to set the record straight. According to The Times, Senator Richard Blumenthal will lead the hearing and plans to grill Mosseri on how Instagram’s algorithm can send young users spiralling into a negative feedback loop of harmful content (within the realms of eating disorders, self-harm and the like).
Moserri will likely talk up Meta’s care and consideration for the younger and more impressionable members of its audience, but we’re far more interested in what he has to say about those pesky leaked documents.