The US Congress is currently investigating the harmful effects of Instagram on children’s mental health. For the first time, the boss of the social network will testify for the time of an official hearing.
This is a first for Adam Mosseri, and for Instagram. In a few weeks, the boss of the social network will be heard by Congress to report on the effects of his platform on the (poor) mental health of young users. Since the revelations around Frances Haugen’s Facebook Files reported by the Wall Street Journal, the US government is now trying to understand the extent to which Mark Zuckerberg’s company encourages adolescents to adopt toxic and self-destructive behaviors, especially among women.
After a first hearing in September with Antigone Davis, the global head of Facebook’s security had denied the idea that the Meta group’s social networks were knowingly dangerous for young people. Faced with the flagrant inconsistencies between the Wall Street Journal and Antigone Davis’ speech, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal then invited Mark Zuckerberg to appear to clarify the situation as part of an investigation opened by Congress. An invitation also addressed to Adam Mosseri, and who considered in particular that “Parents, and the twenty million teens who use your app have the right to know the truth about Instagram safety”.
What future for Instagram?
It remains to be seen what outcome this unprecedented confrontation will take. Expected for December, the passage of Adam Mosseri in Congress should provide a better understanding of the platform’s intentions regarding its youngest audience. Recall that a few weeks ago, the company abandoned its platform project for children Instagram Kids after the accusations of Frances Haugen. Senator Blumenthal now hopes to legislate more drastically on the subject, in particular by prohibiting social networks to under 16s. Concurrently Republican Senator Josh Hawley also introduced a bill allowing parents to sue tech companies when bodily or psychological harm to their children.