Facing criticism over kids’ safety on its platform - Instagram head Adam Mosseri appeared for the first time before Congress on Wednesday… at times chiding with lawmakers.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar: “Our kids are not cash cows.”
Mosseri: “I believe the parent knows best… that’s why we are developing parental controls.”
Mosseri called for the creation of an industry body that could set standards on how to verify age, design age-appropriate experiences, and build parental controls.
“We don't allow certain types of ads. Things like weight loss ads or dating ads for under 18 or alcohol-related ads for those under the age of 21.”
His appearance came as lawmakers have held a series of hearings on children's online safety… focusing on Instagram and its parent company Meta, formerly Facebook, and the potential impact their services have on the mental health, body image and online safety of young users.
It’s an issue that’s gained rare bipartisan support…..
Especially after a Facebook whistleblower went public this year with internal documents she said showed the company knew Instagram could have harmful mental health effects on teens… but failed to act.
Mosseri said public reporting mischaracterized the internal research.
Senator Richard Blumenthal: “Instagram is addictive.”
Mosseri: “Respectfully, I don't believe the research suggests that our products are addictive. Research actually shows that on 11 of 12 difficult issues that teens face, teens are struggling, said Instagram helps more than harms… And it's my responsibility as head of Instagram to do everything I can to help keep people safe. And we're going to continue to do so."
To that end, Mosseri also touted product changes announced Tuesday on young users' safety, including that it would be stricter about the types of content it recommends to teens.
It also launched a time management feature to remind users to take a break and said it would introduce parental controls next year. But Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn called the updates "too little too late."