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Instagram’s effects on teen girls will be investigated by Congress

Congress is currently investigating Instagram over information that suggests the company is aware of its potential risks to teen girls.

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Image: KnowTechie

Senator Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn, members of a consumer protection panel from the Senate Commerce Committee, have announced an investigation regarding the statement released by Instagram on Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal published a report showing that the company was aware of how Instagram negatively impacted some teens’ mental health.

The two lawmakers stated that they’re working with “a Facebook whistleblower” and now intend to seek documents and witness testimonies from the company concerning the reporting.

It is clear that Facebook is incapable of holding itself accountable. The Wall Street Journal’s reporting reveals Facebook’s leadership to be focused on a growth-at-all-costs mindset that valued profits over the health and lives of children and teens,” the lawmakers said. “When given the opportunity to come clean to us about their knowledge of Instagram’s impact on young users, Facebook provided evasive answers that were misleading and covered up clear evidence of significant harm.”

Several house lawmakers also condemned Facebook regarding the reported facts. Republican Senator Gus Bilirakis also introduced a measure allowing the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and act upon “unfair and deceptive acts or practices targeting our children’s mental health and privacy by social media,” as an amendment to the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package advanced by the Democrats. Unfortunately, the amendment did not pass.

Several Democrats, including Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), wrote a letter on Tuesday addressed to Facebook, asking that the company immediately cease its initiative to release an Instagram app designed for kids.

The Democrats argued that “Children and teens are uniquely vulnerable populations online, and these findings paint a clear and devastating picture of Instagram as an app that poses significant threats to young people’s wellbeing” as part of their letter.

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