Whistleblower Behind Destroying ‘Facebook Files’ Revealing Social Media Giant Knew Instagram was Toxic, Will Reveal Their Identities and Testify Before Congress Before Year’s End
- Whistleblower Who Leaked Facebook Internal Files Will Testify Before Senate Consumer Protection Committee
- They plan to reveal their identities before the end of the year
- The files detailed how Facebook knew about Instagram’s effect on teenage girls’ mental health, but continued to create beauty filtering tools.
- The tools were cited as one of the reasons girls felt depressed and suicidal
- Facebook will send its global head of security to testify before the commission as well
The whistleblower who leaked the infamous “Facebook files,” which revealed that the social media giant knew Instagram could be toxic to teenage girls, will reveal their identities and testify to Congress before the end of 2020.
A source familiar with the matter said the whistleblower has agreed to work with Congress and plans to appear before the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection Panel to discuss Facebook’s failings. Fox Business reports.
Facebook, which has long had to answer to Congress for using its platform, came under renewed scrutiny when the leaked files stated that Facebook knew Instagram was harmful to teenage girls and was still rolling out additions to the app that promoted damage.
The social media giant confirmed that Antigone Davis, the global head of security, would also testify before the Senate Committee.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before a Senate committee on corporate practices last November. The social media giant continues to be scrutinized by Congress
This is part of the research Facebook showed on how Instagram harms teens
According to the documents provided to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook had known for two years that Instagram is toxic to young girls, but continued to add beauty editing filters to the app, despite six percent of suicidal girls in America blaming the app for their desire to commit suicide.
When Facebook investigations first notified the company of the issue in 2019, they said, “We’re making body image issues worse for one in three teenage girls.”
Teens blame Instagram for the rise in anxiety and depression. This response was spontaneous and consistent in all groups.’
A post posted to an internal bulletin board in March 2020 said the app revealed that 32 percent of girls said Instagram made them feel worse about their bodies if they already had insecurities.
About one in five said the app made them feel worse about themselves.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been silent in the past about the problems the app would cause for young girls.
He told Congress in March 2021 that Instagram has “positive mental health benefits.”
Instagram has a “parents’ guide” that teaches parents how to monitor their kids’ accounts by enabling features like screen time limits and who can reply to posts, but there’s no way to verify someone’s age before joining the site.
Instagram claims it only accepts users 13 and older, but says many lie about it when they join.
Forty percent of Instagram’s 1 billion monthly users are under the age of 22, and just over half are women.
Instagram also does not flag photos or images that may be distorted or manipulated, despite flagging material that it believes contains disinformation, political messages, or paid advertising.
Senator Richard Blumenthal criticized Facebook’s actions and will serve on Senate committee investigating what Facebook knew and how its services affect young people
Senator Richard Blumenthal, who sits on the Senate committee, told the Journal that Facebook’s responses were vague, raising the question that it was deliberately hiding the investigation.
“Facebook’s responses were so evasive — they didn’t answer all of our questions — that they really raise questions about what Facebook might be hiding.
“Facebook seems to be taking a page out of Big Tobacco’s textbook — targeting teens with potentially dangerous products while masking the science in public.”
In the letter, the company also said it was keeping the research “confidential” in order to promote frank and open dialogue and internal brainstorming.
Blumenthal added that the committee will also meet with representatives from YouTube and Snapchat to testify about their products affecting children, as Congress takes steps to curb and understand the growing influence of social media among children. Washington Post reported.