Meta will be sending its highest-ranking executive ever to Congress on Wednesday, amid fallout from a whistle-blower scam.
Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s chief executive officer will be appearing before the Senate Subcommittee. This subcommittee has been leading Congressional efforts to investigate disclosures made in 2009 by Frances Haugen, former Facebook product manager. She has provided files to reporters and legislators that show how Instagram may have adverse affects on teens’ health. It is something the company acknowledges, but cannot fix.
Ahead of Mosseri’s testimony, Instagram on Tuesday announced a number of new features meant to curb potentially harmful use of its app and said it would debut new parent control functions early next year. Instagram launched Take A break, which encourages users to get off the app.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, the Tennessee Republican who co-chairs the Senate subcommittee that will host Mosseri on Wednesday, said the move by Instagram “will do little to substantively make their products safer for kids and teens. But my colleagues and I see right through what they are doing.”
Mosseri is the second—and the most senior—Meta executive to head to Congress since the whistle-blower scandal ignited this fall. In September, Antigone Davis, the company’s head of safety, testified. Since then, lawmakers have criticized Antigone Davis and Meta for not being transparent about their questions. In the meantime, Haugen has been interviewed by the Senate subcommittee along with executives from YouTube Snap TikTok and Snap.
Blackburn and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Democratic vice-chairwoman of her party, have called for Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony. Since 2018, he has testified seven more times, but recently chose to leave the public defense of his company in the hands of his lieutenants.
The revelations about Facebook have provoked bipartisan dismay. However, Congress has yet to pass any legislation to regulate Facebook and its competition during the next round of midterm elections. Perhaps the one area where Democrats and Republicans would be most likely to join forces and push through a bill revolves around child safety, making Mosseri’s comments on Wednesday all the more important.