On Tuesday, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen is appearing before a Senate Commerce subcommittee in what promises to be one of Facebook’s toughest congressional hearings in years. After serving as a source for a string of bombshell reports from The Wall Street Journal, Haugen went public on Sunday with concerns about Instagram’s mental health impacts on its youngest users, drawn from internal Facebook reports.
The result has been a new focus on child safety — a particular sore point for Facebook. The company has disputed claims that Instagram exacerbates body issues in teenage girls, but the broader concerns about algorithmic amplification of harmful content have been harder to dismiss. In a hearing last week, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) shared the results of a test in which his own staff was bombarded with Instagram posts related to eating disorders and self-harm after creating a dummy account posing as a teenage girl. Today’s hearing is expected to focus on the same topics, with direct testimony from Haugen on the company’s decisions.
We’ll be updating this post with everything that happens during the hearing — every question from lawmakers, every important quote, and every piece of new information from Haugen. Stay tuned.
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