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Marsha Blackburn, Richard Blumenthal to Hold Hearing on Facebook, Instagram’s Impacts on Teens’ Mental Health

U.S. SenateWashington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ranking Member and Chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security, will convene a hearing on Thursday, September 30th, 2021 at 10:30am titled “Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, & Mental Health Harms.” Facebook has confirmed that the company’s Global Head of Safety, Antigone Davis, will testify at the hearing.

“Mark Zuckerberg’s guiding principle for Facebook is profit,” said Blackburn. “The platform was fully aware that Facebook had serious and harmful issues. Young girls’ risk of suicide increased, human trafficking thrived on the site, and cartels gloated about their killings. I look forward to Facebook answering these very serious allegations before the Consumer Protection Subcommittee. I appreciate Senator Blumenthal’s leadership and bipartisan approach on this matter, and look forward to continuing to work closely with him.”

“This hearing will examine the toxic effects of Facebook and Instagram on young people and others, and is one of several that will ask tough questions about whether Big Tech companies are knowingly harming people and concealing that knowledge,” said Blumenthal. “Revelations about Facebook and others have raised profound questions about what can and should be done to protect people. Other social media companies have committed to appear at other hearings soon to be scheduled.”

The hearing comes after reporting in the Wall Street Journal on Facebook’s knowledge of its platforms’ negative impact on teenagers and young users.

In August, Blackburn and Blumenthal wrote Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calling on the tech giant to release its internal research on the potentially harmful impact of its platforms – including Instagram Kids – on youth mental health and explain how this research has been used to further promote and market their products to young users.

In May, Blackburn and Blumenthal held a hearing on protecting kids online. With children’s screen time surging on popular apps like Facebook Messenger and Instagram, kids are being exposed to safety and privacy issues including data collection, aggressive marketing, and sexual exploitation.

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