Drastic criticism of Facebook in the US Senate

Released on 30.09. 2021

  • At a hearing in the US Senate, the online network was heavily criticized. Photo: Fabian Sommer

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The online network was criticized for disclosure reports on the psychological well-being of young users. At a hearing in the US Senate, comparisons were made with the tobacco industry.

Washington (dpa) – US Senators covered Facebook with severe criticism at a hearing on how to deal with young users. The Democrat Ed Markey compared the approach of the online network, especially with the Instagram photo service, with the irresponsible behavior of the tobacco industry.

«Instagram is that first cigarette of childhood», teenagers Markey said, among other things, should make addicts early on and endanger their health in the end. “Facebook acts like the big tobacco companies, they distribute a product that they know is harmful to the health of young people.”

The hearing follows a series of disclosures in the “ Wall Street Journal ». It said, among other things, that Facebook had known from user surveys that Instagram had harmed the psychological well-being of young girls with regard to their figure. Facebook manager Antigone Davis, who is responsible for user safety at the online network, countered at the hearing that, according to the surveys, teenagers had found help on other topics on Instagram.

When criticizing Facebook and Instagram, the notoriously divided Democrats and Republicans in the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection showed a rare unity. A few days before the hearing, Facebook suspended the development of an Instagram version for children between the ages of ten and twelve for an indefinite period and announced consultations with parents and experts.

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