Facebook Under Fire… Again

Facebook will be on the defensive at a US Senate hearing today, after a whistleblower leaked documents suggesting the company routinely puts profit over public safety—even when its own research showed concerning trends in Instagram’s impact on young people’s mental health, BBC reports.

Previously, Instagram said the platform’s impact on teen mental health effects on teenagers' mental health were “quite small.”

But a trove of internal research leaked by ex-Facebook employee Frances Haugen said that teens “blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,” and that the impact on body image is particularly acute.
Haugen—who will testify today—also told 60 Minutes that the company deceived the public about making progress against hate, violence, and misinformation.

The Quote: “The thing I saw at Facebook over and over again was there were conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook,” Haugen said—and that the company continually prioritized the latter, The Guardian reports.
Open question: Whether this latest “body blow” will dent the company’s resilient growth or profits, Axios reports.

Related: Association of Children’s Physical Activity and Screen Time With Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic – JAMA

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