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Facebook to testify before Senate committee after internal docs leak

Antigone Davis, Facebook's global head of safety, to testify before Senate Commerce subcommittee on Sept. 30

Övünç Kutlu, Michael Gabriel Hernandez   | 24.09.2021
Facebook to testify before Senate committee after internal docs leak

ANKARA 

Social media and networking giant Facebook confirmed Thursday that one of its executives will be testifying before the US Senate next week amid claims over its photo and video sharing service Instagram.

Facebook's global head of safety, Antigone Davis, will be appearing before the Senate Commerce subcommittee on consumer protection on Sept. 30, Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesman, confirmed to Anadolu Agency.

News of the Senate hearing comes after The Wall Street Journal reported on Sept. 14 that Facebook is aware that Instagram is harmful to teenagers, especially girls, through leaked internal studies it conducted over the last three years that examined how its youth user base is affected.

Facebook is the parent company of Instagram.

Instagram's researchers concluded via a study that 32% of girls say that when they feel bad about their bodies, Instagram makes them feel worse. The slide presentation reviewed by the Journal also said, "Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves."

"We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls," a slide from 2019 said.

"Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression," said another. "This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups."

The study further found that among respondents who reported having suicidal thoughts, 6% of American users and 13% of those in the UK said those feelings originated from Instagram.

Instagram's head of public policy, Karina Newton, however, said the same day the Journal published its report that the company is "increasingly focused on addressing negative social comparison and negative body image."

"The question on many people’s minds is if social media is good or bad for people," she wrote. "We’re proud that our app can give voice to those who have been marginalized, that it can help friends and families stay connected from all corners of the world, that it can prompt societal change; but we also know it can be a place where people have negative experiences, as the Journal called out today."

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