Sen. Blumenthal: Facebook Chronically Ignores Internal Alarms

Facebook engineering summit
(Image credit: Facebook)

Based on new documents from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen (being dubbed “The Facebook Papers”), Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), chair of the Senate Consumer Protection Subcommittee, said it was just more evidence that the social media platform has “chronically ignored serious internal alarms.”

Blumenthal has called on Facebook to make public all its internal research on the impact of its platform on users and said the latest revelations “demand the full release of the company‘s research on the harms to teens and even to our democracy.”

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There has already been a drumbeat for more documents — which Facebook execs said the country would contemplate — after Haugen turned over internal research showing some young users felt the platform hurt their self-esteem and even prompted thoughts of suicide.

Facebook has defended that research, pointing out that the majority of respondents said Facebook's Instagram platform was a help, not a harm, and that the company was responding to those who felt the other way, with the research helping them identify the issues.

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The company has also launched an ad campaign calling on D.C. to regulate it so it knows what the boundaries for its moderation of third party content should be.

Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube have agreed to testify at an Oct. 26 hearing in Blumenthal‘s committee, the fourth in a series on the impact of the edge on children and young people.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.