It’s been a rough few weeks for Facebook after The Wall Street Journal published a series of reports on the company dubbed the Facebook Files. The reporting surrounding the Facebook Files is based on a series of internal Facebook documents the Journal received. So far the most damning documents show that Facebook is well aware of the negative mental health effects its platforms (including Facebook and Instagram) have on children. The Wall Street Journal’s reporting has been strongly condemned by Facebook, but that hasn’t stopped the reporting leading to Senate hearings on the matter, which take place today.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold a hearing today, Thursday, September 30 at 10:30 a.m. ET titled Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms. The hearing will be led by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, chair of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security and will examine the “immense peer pressure and social expectations” children and teens feel to broadcast their lives online—specific to Facebook’s platforms.
“Recent Wall Street Journal investigations have revealed troubling insights regarding what Facebook knows about how Instagram affects young users, including their mental health,” the hearing’s description reads. “This hearing will cover Facebook’s research into the impact of its apps on young audiences, its actions to address threats to these users, and policy considerations to safeguard kids online.”
Attending the hearing will be Facebook’s global head of safety, Antigone Davis. To watch the hearing live tune into the webcast live stream here at 10:30 a.m. ET.