Social Media

Head of Instagram to Testify Before the US Senate

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri will testify before the Senate for the first time as part of a series of hearings about online safety for children and teens. Mosseri’s hearing will take place on December 6 according to The New York Times. Mosseri’s upcoming testimony comes after Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) wrote a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking that either he or Mosseri participate in a Senate hearing.

posted a video responding to the news of his forthcoming appearance on Capitol Hill. He discussed growing concerns about teen safety online, then outlined past actions Instagram has taken to protect young users, like making young teens’ accounts private by default and restricting the kinds of ads they see.

said in the video, “I’m going to be talking about these issues with Congress relatively soon. These are important issues, but we all have shared goals. We all want young people to be safe when they’re online.”

When reports leaked in September about Instagram’s knowledge of its dangerous affects on teen girls, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation didn’t take it lightly. The committee first questioned Facebook Global Head of Security Antigone Davis, who was reticent to answer direct questions from the Senate.

Then weeks later, the committee heard testimony from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former civic integrity product manager who leaked thousands of internal documents known as the “Facebook Papers.” In her hearing, Haugen told the Senate that Facebook cares more about profits than user safety.

Now, after hearing from executives at Snap, TikTok and YouTube last month, the committee will convene again to hear from the head of Instagram himself. Given the committee’s demonstrated concern about Instagram’s connection to the onset of adolescent eating disorders, it’s expected that Mosseri will be questioned about leaked internal studies that Meta conducted about Instagram’s impact on teen girls.

The internal study, obtained by The Wall Street Journal and later published by Meta itself, found that Instagram makes body image issues worse for one in three teen girls, and that teens blame Instagram for increases in anxiety and depression.

Among teens with suicidal thoughts, the study says that 6% of users traced their desire to die by suicide to Instagram. Plus, 32% of surveyed teen girls reported that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made those feelings worse.

Shortly after these documents were leaked, Mosseri announced that Instagram would pause building Instagram Kids. Meta already has products like Messenger Kids, which lets users under 13 chat with people approved by their parents.

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