Facebook Whistleblower to appear before Senate next week

According to a bipartisan Senate pair, a Facebook “whistleblower” will appear before the Senate next week at a session on protecting children online.

Source: BBC

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, and Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, are investigating Facebook’s impact on minors and are planning a series of hearings on the company’s behavior. In a statement announcing the session, the senators did not name the whistleblower or the nature of the person’s relationship with Facebook.

“From turning a blind eye to the detrimental effects of its platforms on adolescent mental health to its failure to police for human trafficking, domestic slavery, and other harmful content, Facebook has a lot to answer for,” Ms. Blackburn said in the statement. “I’m interested in hearing more from the whistleblower and knowing the whole story behind Facebook’s mistakes.”

Mr. Blumenthal, who chairs a subcommittee looking into Facebook, believes the whistleblower’s testimony will be crucial to the public’s understanding of the social media platform’s impact on minors.

Mr. Blumenthal stated, “I look forward to a discussion of the wide variety of shocking claims that have lately been come to light regarding the troubling experiences young people are having on these applications.”

“This whistleblower’s testimony will be critical to understanding what Facebook knew about its platforms’ toxic effects on young users when they knew it, and what they did about it,” Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, chairman of a Senate commerce subcommittee, said in a statement announcing the hearing on Oct. 5.

The Wall Street Journal claims, based on internal corporate studies, that Facebook understands Instagram is “hazardous for young girls.”

On Thursday, Mr. Blumenthal and Ms. Blackburn will host a hearing in which Facebook executive Antigone Davis will testify about the company’s purported mental health risks.

Facebook has suspended an Instagram product for youngsters and issued comments confronting its critics as it prepares for upcoming battles with Congress. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, said on Monday that it was stopping the development of “Instagram Kids,” a children’s version of the popular image-sharing social media site.

Following the study, Instagram’s head of public policy, Karina Newton, said in a blog post that the business is looking into methods to encourage users toward more uplifting material.

According to an unidentified assistant to Blackburn, the whistleblower wants to go public before the end of the year, maybe by testifying before Congress, according to the Post.

Legislators grilled a Facebook privacy policy official over the Journal piece at a hearing earlier this week that was supposed to focus on data and antitrust law. At the hearing on Thursday, many of the same senators will get another chance to grill Facebook.