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Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, agrees to testify before Congress

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Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, agrees to testify before Congress

Instagram chief Adam Mosseri has agreed to testify before Congress for the first time, as bipartisan anger over the app harms young people.

Senator Richard Blumenthal, who led the hearing, said Mr Mosseri is expected to appear before a Senate panel during the week of December 6 as part of a series of hearings on the safety of children online.

Mr Mosseri’s appearance follows hearings this year in which a former employee became a whistle-blower, along with Antigone Davis and Frances Haugen, global head of security for Instagram and Facebook’s parent company Meta. Ms. Haugen’s revelations about the social networking company, particularly Facebook and Instagram’s research into its effects on some teens and young girls, have sparked criticism, inquiries from politicians and scrutiny from regulators.

In September, Ms Davis told Congress that the company disputed the grounds that Instagram was harmful to teens and noted that the leaked research did not contain causal data. But after Ms. Haugen’s testimony last month, Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, wrote a letter to META chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, suggesting that her company “falsified to me in regards to attempts to hide its research internally.” or provided false testimony.”

Mr Blumenthal asked Mr Zuckerberg or Mr Mosseri to testify before the consumer protection subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee to set the record straight.

Mr Blumenthal, chairman of the subcommittee, said, “He is the top figure on Instagram, and the whole country is asking why Instagram and other tech platforms create so much danger and harm to children by running toxic content.” , “The hearing will be critically important in guiding us to develop laws that could impact making the platform secure.”

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Meta spokesman Danny Lever said in a statement: “We continue to work with the committee to find a date for Adam to testify on the important steps Instagram is taking.”

Mr Blumenthal said he would question Mr Mosseri about how Instagram’s algorithms could send children down a dangerous rabbit hole. Since Mr Blumenthal’s subcommittee began its series of hearings, lawmakers have heard from hundreds of parents and children who have shared personal anecdotes, including posts on fitness from excessive dieting, eating disorders and self-harm. Recommendations for related content include stories to grow.

Mr Blumenthal said he seeks a commitment from Mr Mosseri to make Instagram’s ranking and recommendation decisions transparent to the public and experts who can study how the app amplifies harmful content. Mr Blumenthal said executives from Snap, TikTok and YouTube, who testified at previous hearings, have committed to algorithmic transparency.

While Mr Zuckerberg has become accustomed to being dragged before US lawmakers, this will be the first time Mr Mosseri will testify to him under oath. A trusted lieutenant of Mr Zuckerberg, who was chosen to head Instagram in 2018, Mr Mosseri has become the public face of the photo-sharing app, hosting regular video announcements about new features and morning television. appear in the show.

In September, before Ms. Davis’ Senate hearing, Mr. Mosseri appeared on NBC’s Today show to announce that Instagram would halt development of a version of the app designed for children after public backlash and Ms. Haugen. The leak of the law will increase the interest of the law makers. BuzzFeed News first reported in March that the company is working on a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.

Mr Mosseri’s scheduled appearance is the latest result of leaked files from Ms Haugen, first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Those documents, called The Facebook Papers, form the basis of several complaints to the Securities and Exchange Commission that Meta has misled investors about its efforts to protect users.

Last week, a bipartisan group of 11 state attorneys general announced that it had opened an investigation into whether Meta failed to protect the mental wellbeing of youth across its platforms, including Instagram.

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