Skip to main content

tv   Hearing on Protecting Children Online  CSPAN  October 4, 2021 8:00pm-10:25pm EDT

8:00 pm
♪ >> next a senate consumer protection subcommittee on protecting children while online. facebook global safety director told senators her company takes the privacy, safety and well-being of all of those who use facebook very seriously, especially the youngest people who use their services and that they plan to proactively identify where they can improve. subcommittee chair richard blumenthal of connecticut say facebook routinely puts profits ahead of kids online safety. this hearing is about two hours and 25 minutes.
8:01 pm
>> this hearing of the subcommittee on consumer protection of the u.s. senate committee on commerce will come to order it i think the ranking member, senator blackburn for being here especially want to express my gratitude to the chairman of the committee senator cantwell has encouraged and supported this effort into the ranking member, senator wicker who is also with this can help to
8:02 pm
lead this effort has been very, very bipartisan. i think the ongoing series of hearings we will have similarly will be bipartisan and its objective and its conduct. i want to welcome our witness, ms. davis, who is here on behalf of facebook. thank you for being withh us. this hearing is the third in a series intended to help us draftra legislation. but not to just legislate, but to prompt action by facebook itself. and, that action has to address the harm that children and teens face on social media. i want to make clear our interests are not limited to facebook an instagram. the secured commitments from several social media companies to appear in the coming weeks. we will hold them to those
8:03 pm
promises. we are here today because facebook has shown us, once again, that it is incapable of holding itself accountable. this was months a whistleblower provided my office to provide information about facebook an instagram. thanks to documents provided by that whistleblower, as well as extensive public reporting by the wall street journal and others, we now have deep insights into facebook relentless campaign to recruit and exploit young users. we now know, facebook publicly denies instagram is a deeply harmful for teens, privately facebook researchers and experts have been ringing the alarm for years. we now know that facebook routinely puts profits ahead
8:04 pm
of kids online safety. we know it chooses the growth of its products over the well-being of its children. we now know that it is indispensably delinquent and acting to protect them. it is failing to hold itself accountable q. and the question that haunts me is how can we, or parents, or anyone touch facebook. facebook last night disclosed two reports. we have those two reports among the documents that the whistleblower has provided. there are numerous other extensive and sophisticated reports facebook has not disclosed, why? that will be a question that i think will resonate throughout this i hearing.
8:05 pm
because the fact of the matter is facebook has concealed research study experts that show the harm that has been caused to children on its site. how it knew about that harm and how it concealed it continually. and august, ahead of this hearing, senator blackburn and i wrote to mark zuckerberg and we asked, as you can see from this posterboard, quote has facebook research ever found that its platforms and products can have a negative effect on children and teens mental health or well-being such as increased suicidal thoughts, heightened anxiety, unhealthy usage patterns, negative self image, or other indications of lower well-being". facebook's response was, quote
8:06 pm
we are not aware, we are not aware of a consensus among study or expert about how much screen time is too much. that response was simply untrue. facebook knows, it knows the evidence of harm to teens is substantial and specific to instagram in new, previously undisclosed documents provided by the whistleblower, making them available now through these quotes we know that its own comprehensive internal review indicated that facebook employees found, and i quote, substantial evidence suggests that experiences on instagram
8:07 pm
and facebook make body dissatisfaction worse. particularly viewing attractive images of others. doing filtered images. posting selfies, and viewing content. going to repeat that quote. substantial evidence suggests experiences on instagram andat facebook make body assist dissatisfaction worse. particularly viewing attractive imagesf of others using filtered images, posting selfies, and viewing content with certain hashtags. that finding was not some disgruntled facebook employee making a complaint. it was facebook's own employee making a formal finding based on their research.
8:08 pm
and it was available at the highest level of facebook's management . in our august letter we also ask quote has facebook ever found that child or teenage users engage in usage patterns that would indicate addictive or unhealthy usage of its platform or products? "facebook did not even bother to respond directly and pointed us to a previous invasion. and there was a reason, they responded in that way. because facebook knows, they know that children struggle with addiction on instagram. and they did not want to admit it. facebook researchers have concluded that teens have an added narrative about their
8:09 pm
youth. have an addict narrative about their youth. another survey, also not disclosed publicly found that over one third of teens felt they have only a little control, or no control at all over how instagram makes them feel. again, this conclusion is not solely one report. one facebook employee perspective. it is a pattern of findings repeated across sophisticated and extensive studies that facebook itself conducted over the past four years. not displeased or disgruntled employee. facebook's formal finding and conclusion. facebook knows the disruptive
8:10 pm
consequences instagram designs and algorithm are having on our young people and our society. but it has routinely prioritized its own rapid growth over basic safety for our children. there is a teenage mental health crisis in america. after years of decline starting in 2007 the suicide rate for young people has begun to skyrocket. the suicide rate for ten -- 14-year-old has doubled for young girls it hasrl quadrupled. --instagram did not create this crisis. but, from the documents provided by thehe whistleblower, clearly facebook's own researchers describe instagram itself as a quote perfect storm.
8:11 pm
and i quote again, exacerbates downward spiral. facebook knew it was a perfect storm through instagram that exacerbates downward spiral.ow my office did its own research. we create an instagram account identified as a 13-year-old girl and followed a few easily findable accounts associated with extreme dieting and eatingng disorder. within a day its recommendations werell exclusively t felt self injury and eating disorders. that is the perfect storm that instagram has fostered and created. so facebook has asked us to trust it. but after these evasions and theseev revelations, why should we? it is clear that facebook has
8:12 pm
done nothing to earn that trust. not from us, not from parents, not from the public. facebook is takenk. big tobacco's playbook. it has hidden its own research on addiction and the toxic effect of its products. it is attempted to feed the public and us and congress about what it knows. and it has a weaponize childhood vulnerability against children themselves. it's chosen's growth over children's mental health and well-being. greed over preventing the suffering of children. these internal facebook studies are filled with recommendations. recommendation from facebook's own employees. and yes, there is no evidence, that facebook has done anything other than a few small minor marginal changes.
8:13 pm
we all know facebook treated protecting kids with disregard. if it had protected kids, like it did drive up revenue or growth it would have done a whole lot more. and instead, facebook has evaded, misled and deceived. i hope this hearing provides real transparency and marks the start of a change from facebook. parents deserve the truth. thank you to everyone for being here this morning for it i will it to the ranking member. if the chairwoman for the ranking member have remarks i would be happy to call on them. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to say thank you to you andnd your staff for working in partnership with us on this arhearing. i wish senator markey was still here. he and i have been on this issue since we were each in
8:14 pm
the house and working on privacy, big techta accountability. so this is the type of hearing that has been a long time ci coming. and this is truly an important conversation for us to be having to continue and to be bringing our findings forward. so that the public is aware, there are a lot of moms, security moms i call them very concerned about what they see happening in the virtual space. 2019 s cdc released some data. adding to it you were talking about a think this is important. in 2019 the cdc data shows 20%, 20% of our american high school students seriously considered attempting suicide.
8:15 pm
40% reported experiencing sadness, hopelessness. now our children who have lived through covid, school closing and more upheaval in their lives than ever before, deserve better than this. yet, where are the findings about the social interaction and relationship that they so desperately need? weren't they are finding this is on social media, on sites like instagram, tiptop, snapchat. and now we know that at least one of these sites, facebook, knows that its services are actively harming young children. they know this. how t did they know this? because they did their own research. as a chairman blumenthal justme saidd. in 2019 and 2020 facebook in-house analyst performed a
8:16 pm
series of deep dives into teen use ofan instagram. and it revealed and i am quoting from the report, instagram to create a perfect storm. and thatan perfect storm manifest itself in the minds of teenagers in the form of an tense social pressure, addiction, body image issues, eating disorders, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. but it gets even worse than this. because facebook, spite touting their compliance, was scheming to bringou even younger uses to bring into the field. instagram announced this week that it is temporarily shelving their plans for instagram. but until this week they were
8:17 pm
moving forward with this trying to bring younger children onto their platforms. yet at the same time we are learning this, the wall street journal reported how facebook tried to use play dates, that is right, play dates to attract more children to its messenger kids service. in fact, facebook is fully aware that under age children are using their platforms. not only that, but they encourage older teen siblings to recruit their younger siblings. and are actually devising marketing plans to help kids and teens, get this, create secondary or anonymous accounts that they can hide from their parents. and they perform market research on kids as young as eight years old. soec they can learn how to recruit them to their sites.
8:18 pm
facebook is also aware of other types of harmful content on their site. in fact the report shows how facebook knew about content devoted to coercing women into domestic servitude. yet they chose to do nothing toop stop it until apple threatened to pull facebook from the app store. that is correct. it took apple standing up to get them to stop this. in fact, this seems to be a recurring theme with this company. and anything to mold the world into yourur own image for your own profit without any regard for any harm that's going to be done because your focus is on your pocketbook. ceo of instagram continues to
8:19 pm
double down on youth marketing. he said on the today show earlier this week, when asked about instagram kids and i am quoting him, i firmly believe it is a good idea. as a father the most important thing to me is the safety of my children". well, i am a mother and i am a grandmother. and i really beg to differ with you. in fact, i would imagine that most of the chief mamas in charge at their ownei households , would disagree with you. i think they would vehemently disagree with you. they do not want their kids going on platforms like instagram. even if you assure us that it will be safe for tween's. as the chairman said, you have lost the trust.
8:20 pm
we do not trust you with influencing our children. with the reading in their minds. the also they do not want facebook gathering data on their children home whatever you want teens, tween's, young adults, the bottom line these are children. they are children. and you and mr. zuckerberg, both ofnd you being parents should understand parents as both a legal and moral obligation for collecting and using children's data. so mr. chairman, i am grateful for the opportunity that we have this hearing today to continue to investigate, continue to expose what is happening in the virtual space. and i am certain we will be holding facebook to account as
8:21 pm
other tech platforms will be headed to account. ms. davis, i do thank you for, appearing before us today. i hope we can have a very frank and candid conversation thank you, mr. chairman. >> thanked senator blackburn. i : : senator cantwell. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank youca ranking member blackburn for this hearing today and for your long-standing work on this very important policy area. i thinknk it is very important to understand that our committee would like to moveer forward on stronger privacy legislation. and yesterday hearing it crystallized we need to update the children's online privacy protection act. in this hearing will put even more focus to the fact that we need to do that. i want to thank the senator markey for his question
8:22 pm
yesterday. this month the wall street journal published in articles about facebook an instagram showing the management new in great detail about the impact of these products of harm to children, from two teenagers and continue to bury that knowledge. as her colleague just said, data collection of children is something that should have more aggressive attention. they should not have the products and services track and follow these young children and it will be essential. as we said yesterday, the committee talked about also first-time privacy and data security violations. there is unanimous support for that.o so it is very important we take steps on this issue. i agree the safeguards in place are not enough and we need to do more. i look forward to hearing from the witness today. >> thank you, senator cantwell.
8:23 pm
senator wicker do you have anything? >> thank you, senatorto blumenthal. because werief need to get her witness. facebook is one of a handful of big tech companies wielding immense power over our internet experiences. using its market dominance, facebook maintains unprecedented control over the vast flow of information and speech on the internet. to maintain a free open safe internet many of us on the committee t have long called for more transparency too often have been to monetized or censored a full explanation. users also remained in the
8:24 pm
dark what data is being about them and toin whom it is being sold and for what purpose. these reports from the wall street journal with the cap from public view. this month cross check program terms of service. the disclosed harmful mental effects of the platform effects on children both are deeply troubling inconsistent enforcement of its content moderation policies and disregard for well-being of children and teens. iho hope facebook about
8:25 pm
practices take this opportunity to address the wall street journal's report i alsoso hope facebook will outline what it's doing to increase transparency and begin protecting users of all ages on its platforms. following yesterday's privacy hearing if it clear to me as congress must act big tex continued rain content, censored content suppress certain viewpoints prioritize favorite political speech, stockpile consumer data and act in other other competitive ways for the time to act is now. i am the fourth member of the committee this morning to say that. addressing this issues is
8:26 pm
essential for free and open internet and driving digital economy for generations to come. we are serious about taking action thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator wicker. we will now w tend to our witness was the global head of facebook she spearheads pfizer bore efforts she earned from university of scarlet law school and her ba from columbia university the floor is yours. >> thank you chairman blumenthal, parent a former teacher facebook i care deeply about the young
8:27 pm
people to dedicate the better part of my adult life with the sisters external stakeholders to make suree online safety. thisth is some of the most important work i've done in my career and proud of the work my team does every day. very seriously especially the youngest people on our services. we worked tirelessly for dedicated teams focused on safety and invest significant resources in protecting teens online. we also know we cannot do this work alone. we work closely with experts to inform what we develop.
8:28 pm
we require everyone to be at least 13 years of age on facebook an instagram we learned under age user has created an account consult with experts to make sure policies properly account for their presence. we are constantly at work to privacy for protections earlier this year all users under 16 and the u.s. will not be defaulted into a private account in the joint instagram. we also think it's critical of parents and guardians resources and tools they need to set parameters and help them develop safety and online habits. our online safety. it's fortunate to have all this workk with the above industry experts including advisors experts in privacy, youth development, psychology,
8:29 pm
parenting and media. we l understand recent reporting has raised a lot of questions about internal research. occluding research we do to better understand young people's expenses on instagram. we strongly disagree how this reporting character as her work so we want to be clear about what the research shows and what it does not show. the research sews that's helping them with heart issues that are so common to being a teen. one of the main sites referenced in the articleic is a survey of 12 difficult and serious issues like loneliness, anxiety, sadness and eating disorders. told us they're struggling with these issues whether instagram would make it better, worse, having no effect. on 11 of the 12 issues, two girls who said they struggled with those issues are more likely to say instagram was helping them not making it worse. that was true for teen boys on
8:30 pm
12 out of 12 issues printed want to be clear i'm not diminishing the importance of these issues are suggesting will ever be satisfied with anyone struggling on her absence how we conduct this research to make the platform better. to minimize the bad and maximize the good peers to proactively identify groups. and most important thing about m our research is what we have done with it. we try to identify suicide content are platform and rapidly respond with resources. we launched tools to help control time spent on our apps. we have dedicated reporting flow to disrupted content and offer resources some people try to search for. i've a long track record of using our internal research, external research and collaboration with experts to improve our apps provide resources for people who use them. response of this research is ongoing. one idea we think has promises funding opportunity to jump in if we see people with content
8:31 pm
and finally want to speak to our work on instagram experience for those under 13. become sick in between there already online. designed for that parents can supervise and manage their experience than to have them lie about their age, to access a platform that was not built for them. rely on to verify the ability of kids who are too young to have an id. with age appropriate parent supervised experiences, something youtube and tiktok already do. but would recognize how important it is to get this right. we have heard your concerns which is why we announce we are pausing the project to give it more time. we'll keep listening to parents, keep talking with policymakers and regulators, like yourselves, keep taking
8:32 pm
guidance from experts and will revisit this project at a later date. there is an of developing for kids we won't be pausing, supervisory tools for parents. we'll continue our work to allow parents to oversee their children's accounts offering theseer tools to teen accounts on instagram. these new features for parents and teens will give parents tools to meaningfully shape their team's experience. as a parent, this development means a lot to me. i know i would truly have appreciated more insight and tools to help me support my daughter admitted her online experience as she learned how to navigate social media. i want to thank you for the opportunity to discuss these important issues with you today and answer your questions. your safety and well-being her heirs were investing in heavily we welcome productive collaboration with lawmakers and for officials. thank you and i look forward to our discussion. >> thank you ms. davis.
8:33 pm
you know, we both know, all of us know as parents how vulnerable teens are at this age. how they can succumb to eating disorders, even to suicidal tendencies and how susceptible theyre are. the effects known to facebook of its site and condoning and even encouraging those tendencies is so equally repugnant. facebook knows from its own report the undisclosed previously that if found in december, 2020 as survey of over 50000 facebook users, that quote teens, women of all ages and people in western countries experience higher levels of both body image concerns and problems with appearanceom comparison on
8:34 pm
instagram. in april, 2021 report which also has not been disclosed, it found a quarter of teen girls felt discouraged about their own life and worse about themselves. often or very often after using instagram. another underexposed report march of 2020 found social comparison is worse on instagram its recommendation enable never ending rabbit holes. and it perceived as real life. i do not understand how you can deny instagram is not exploiting young users for its
8:35 pm
own profit. like to speak specifically of a mom of a teenage daughter someone who was a teenage girl her self and someone who is taught middle school i've seen firsthand the troubling intersection between the trouble to be perfect, between body image and finding your identity. what will be lost in this report with this research we found more teen girls find instagram helpful to those find more helpful than not for that does not mean the ones that aren't are not important
8:36 pm
to us in fact that's why we do this research for. >> if i may interrupt you ms. davis these are your own reports. these findings are from your own study and your own experts you can speak to your own experience you disclose all of the reports all of the findings? you commit to full disclosure? correct center to thank you. we've released a number of reports we are looking to find ways to release more of the research. i want to be clear this is not a bombshell's not causal research. >> i beg to differ with you, this research is a bombshell. it is a powerful that facebook knows the harmful effects on
8:37 pm
children and it has concealed those facts and findings. i ask you to commit you will make full disclosure all of the thousands of pages of documents a whistleblower has and more. i want to switch to a separate topic. i think you have indicated you are not willing at this point to make a commitment that will fully disclose everything, unless i'm mistaken. i will give you a chance to respond. >> thank you's editor. we are looking for ways to release more research for their privacy concerns we need to taketa into if. we are also looking for ways to get external reachers access to data so they can do independent research as well. >> that is a very important
8:38 pm
point. you have not provided that access to researchers. you have refused to make it available to independent experts and researchers. i will ask you as well for a commitment to do so. i recognize you are going to answer this question here, but let me ask you separately, in your remarks you say quote we think it is important to help provide parents and guardians the information, resources and tools they need". i want to talkns about one major source of concern for parents. these are instagram accounts, kids secret second account. they are often intended to avoid parents oversight. facebook depends on teens and
8:39 pm
for growth. facebook knows teens are often the most tech savvy in the household. that they need, or they would like to have critical ways, facebook would like to have critical ways to acquire new older users. facebook also knows nearly every teen in the united states hasn't instagram account. it can only add more users as fast as there are new 13 -year-olds. what facebook has done and multiple documents facebook describes the secret accounts as quote a unique value proposition". it is a growth strategy, a way to boost its monthly active user metric. and that active user metric is
8:40 pm
of great interest to your investor, to the market, and it looks to me like it is another case of prioritizing growth over children safety. facebook claims it is giving tools to parents to help their kids navigate social media and stay safe online. but behind the scenes multiple accounts as unique value opportunity proposition". unique value proposition. and we all know we are monetizing kids deceiving their parents. you make money when kids deceive their money. you make a money from heightening the metrics impress the markets your
8:41 pm
investors how can parents trust you? >> mr. secretary that's not how i would characterize the way we build the products. interestingly in my engagement as is not something we built, they built. theych did that to probably have a more private experience which is one of the things to lead us to think about offering them more privacy. so, that is actually where this come from the teen thought us. i think more importantly, our announcements were going to have supervisory tools that gives a parents insight into what their children are doing, is exactly contrary to what you are suggesting.
8:42 pm
>> well with all due respects, these are private, yes they are secret from parents whatever tools you may have appearance can't apply them their part of the metrics thank you for your testimony i appreciate that and i congratulate you on a perfectly curated background. it looks a beautiful coming across the screen. i wish the message you are giving us is equally as attractive. let me go to instagram ceo, adam. recentlyd saying and that used his interview my opening statement that 13n -year-olds are not allowed on instagram, is that true? yes or no.
8:43 pm
>> 13 -year-olds and above are allowed onar instagram buried under 13 year old are not. >> but we know you are doing research on children as young age. and our marketing to eight -- 12 -year-olds, correct? >> we do not market to eight -- 12 years old they are not ins on instagram parade 13 above. if we find an account of someone under 13 we remove them. in fact in the last three months we have taken up 600,000 accounts of under 13 -year-olds. >> tell me about how you enforce the policy that 13 -year-olds -- under 13 cannot be on instagram. >> i appreciate that question. so, there are a number of things we do. we haven't aged scream when someone tries a joint instagram. if we see someone trying to
8:44 pm
repeatedly change the date to get access the app, we also allow people to report under age account even if you're not on facebook and we will rip them. we are investinga. using ai and other signals to verify the accounts for. >> not to interrupt but i've got five minutes. then talk to me about what the map is? because i know your research, your research shows you've looked into using the map for kidso under 13. so why don't you explain that to us? >> map is just a measure of how many people are using the site a month. its monthly active people. >> but you are going to apply that to children under 13. therefore you are trying to quantify the number of children under 13 years of age that reusing your sites,
8:45 pm
correct? >> respectfully that does not sound accurate to me. in fact that we are trying to do. [inaudible] >> please clarify that for the record. because your research shows that you are using the map on children under 13. i want to move on and talk to you about the information i have seen about the presence of content on facebook an instagram that is used to recruit women into domestic servitude. this is a kind of trafficking where people are forced to work against their word for little or no pay. their passports are often otaken away from them. they can be auctioned online and abused. and i have a poster behind it, i hope you can see this. i have seen information suggestingnt that facebook knew this content was on its website but did nothing to
8:46 pm
deleted until apple threatened to drop facebook from the apple app store. to quote from facebook in china report and i quote, was this issue known to facebook before the inquiry? and the apple escalation? yes". but quoting again, due to the underreporting of this information and absence of proactive detention, domestic servitude content remained on the platform. removing our application from the apple platforms would have had potentially severe consequences to the business". ms. davis, did facebook know about content on its platform used to recruit women into forced slavery and why did you not remove it? not until apple threatened to
8:47 pm
drop facebook from the app store. >> respectfully senator, i don't agree with that characterization of what occurred. in fact we have policiesra against trafficking for. >> ms. davis, thiss is your, your company's reporting. you knew this was there. you knew it was there. but you did not do anything about it. is it t still there are you still allowing you still allowing it on facebook girls as young as eight who are on your side are exposed to get a little more definition around this. one of the wall street journal articles came out monday sharedes facebook research about
8:48 pm
the product segments it would like to target in the future. it shows younger and younger kids. this is your poster. i mean this is your graphic. i have put it on a poster. where we have been and where we are going. in facts, documents i saw show facebook doing market research on eight -year-olds. and i am quoting from you all, tween's and younger teens are very similar in digital behaviors. even kids as young as eight are interested in a similar digital experiences". the documents show survey results into thef digital interest of eight -- ten -year-olds. so, with this categorization in mind, this facebook conduct market research on tween's yes or no?
8:49 pm
>> thank you center. first i like to clarify that document that you have behind you. that document is actually from an age-appropriate design something et cetera marky and others have actually given to tech companies as a a way for us to think about how we design for differentag ages. it is actually a direction of policy. [inaudible] >> so you are admitting your design for eight -- 12 -year-olds. i think that is something that is very interesting. because you know that is a violation of the children's online privacy act. and i guess what you're telling us then is that you are also doing market research on children. and that you are continuing to collect data on children. as you try to figure out what
8:50 pm
type digital experience children, children ages eight -- 12 are interested in having w. i'm over time mr. chairman i will yield back. >> thanks senator lapin. center klobuchar. >> thanks very much. ms. davis, we now know facebook's own research on instagram worsens body image bissues for one and three teenage girls. were you aware of this internal findings before the wall street journal articles came out? >> center klobuchar, i'm just to correctly characterize those findings. those finding ours, are of teen girls who have already expressed having that issue. >> i have five minutes i appreciate that. we'll put that on the record. but, were you aware of the internal findings before the wall street journal articles came out?
8:51 pm
>> think it sent center klobuchar i and my team. >> suggests answer i'm sorry i'm asking a polite question were you awareor could you answer yes or no? >> yes i was. >> and what specific steps that you then take in response to your own research and when? >> center klobuchar i don't knowex i can give you exact dates. what i can tell you is this research has numerous product changes for example in the context of eating disorders we now have a dedicated flow for eating disorder content. we also pop up resources for individuals they try to search for this content. >> okay, we'll do this in writing asked the question so we can find out the dates from the research research came out and what you did. you wereta created, facebook was creating a version of instagram that targeted kids under 13. heth announced this week you are positing that program.
8:52 pm
what specific criteria will get used to determine whether to on pause the plan and who will make that decision? >> thank you center klobuchar. what we intend to do at this point in time is to step back, to talk with more parents, to engage with more policymakers like yourselves. to engage with more experts. what i do know is that parents are, your pants under the age with children under 13 are allowing their children onto sites between the ages of eight and 12. >> but i ask who's going to make the decision? if you answer the question i'd let you go ahead but i was asking who will make the decision about whether to t on pause they work on developing the program? >> certainly a collaborative team within the country. it will be done with the
8:53 pm
guidance and expertise of our youth advisors. sharing from parents, showing from policy makers fix i know that'st' guidance. i was asking the identity of the person making the decision that's all for it i will do that in writing for. >> i don't have it thing a person sorry et cetera. >> last quarter reported advertising for use in the u.s. and canada, this is for a quarter was $51 per quarter did noty compare with any other industrialized nation or any other country they're making so much money off of american users. i ask your colleague, steve satterfield about that last week in a hearing in my judiciary antitrust subcommittee. the hearing we had on big data. his response he said he was not entirely sure whether the data included instagram revenue. does it include instagram revenue and specifically does it include revenue from kids under 18?
8:54 pm
>> center klobuchar that is nothing i work on. but that's not how we build products particularly in relation to young people. we actually have always limited ads for young people and much more recently we have reduced on guidance from experts we do not target young people. >> again i appreciate, were good at filibustering in the senate two. i really am concerned about the answer. i think it is specific for it again i will do this in writing i will publish the answers. i am just asking for facts. you publish the quarterly revenue. we have them on different countries, right how much money you m. make. we got that information. and so i'm trying to figure out if it includes i'm trying to figure out if it includes kids which i assume it does. i will keep pursuing itt another way. when you estimate the lifetime
8:55 pm
value of a user you must do that because i know your profit model ander how it works now after take on this monopoly dominant platform issue. what doli you estimate the lifetime user for kids to start using facebook products before age 13? >> senator that is not how we think about building products for young people. we are actually quite focused onop ensuring parents have the supervisory tools they need. that is just not the way we think about t it. certainly not the way i think about that >> that might not be sure about your team are you saying facebook and developing products has never considered and you are under oath, has never considered the profit value of developing products when they make their decisions of how those products look? >> respectfully center we are a business. i am fully aware of that.
8:56 pm
but what we are thinking about is how do we provide the best experience? if we have a very shortsighted version without focusing on providing a better experience for people or good experience that's a terrible business model. >> well, we will follow-up in writing i'm out of my time i will try to come back there's a second round. thank you very much for. >> thanks center klobuchar i'm hopeful we will have a second round. i don't know whether senator stone is available? if not senator moran? or senator lee. i will turn to senator markey in the absence of eight republican senator wishing to ask questions. i am going to vote, so you are in charge senator markey. >> thank you chairman very much.
8:57 pm
and we will recognize republican members have they arrived. in april, senator blumenthal and i wrote to ceo mark zuckerberg ringing the alarm about facebook's plan to launch a version of instagram for kids 12 and under. i am pleased that facebook responded to our concerns and down, at least temporarily from its plans. but it pauses insufficient. let's be clear, the problem is not that instagram has not developed a safe product for kim, the problem is instagram itself. according to facebook's own research, teen users consistently blame instagram for increases in their anxiety and depression. in fact, 32% of teen girls said when they felt, bad about their bodies, instagram made
8:58 pm
them feel worse. and 6% of american teen users trace their desire to kill themselves to instagram. for teens, instagram is worse than a popularity contest and a high school cafeteria. because everyone can immediately see who is the most popular or who is the least popular. instagram is that first childhood cigarette. then to get teens hooked early, exploiting the. pressure of popularity and ultimately endangering their health. facebook is just like bigig tobacco. pushing a product they know is harmful to the health off young people. pushing it to them early also facebook and make them money. ig stands for instagram it
8:59 pm
also stands for instep greed. the last thing we should allow facebook to do is push young kids to use instagram. ms. davis, will you commit that facebook will not launch any platforms targeting kids 12 and under that includes features such as like buttons and follower countsw that allow children to quantify popularity, yes or no? >> senator markey, i would like to actually take a second to disagree with your comparison. our products actually add value and offer enriched environments that connect with their friends and family. >> i i appreciate that, senators just have limited time and the question and answer. i have a question for you, will you stop launching from
9:00 pm
us not to offer a site that uafeatures like buttons and follower counts that will allow children to quantifyno popularity that is a yes or no. >> senator markey those are the kinds that we will be talking with their experts to understand what is most age-appropriate we will discuss those features with of course. >> let me say this we are talking about 12 -year-olds, your chocolate nine -year-olds if you need to do more research on this, you should fire all the people you pay to do your research up until now. this is pretty obvious. it's prettyur obvious to every mother and father and our country. because all recent scientific studies by child development experts on not getting enough likes on social media significantly reduces adolescent feelings of self-worth. it's another threat to young people on instagramd the app is full of images and videos of
9:01 pm
popular influencers who peddle products while they flaunt their lavish lifestyles to users. ms. davis, will you commit facebook will not launch any platforms targeting kids that host influencer marketing of commercial content children may be incapable of identifying as an advertisement, yes or no? : : ms. davis: that's one of the questions : cc it's not acceptable that you don't have answers for these questions right now. these are the obvious problems that exist in television. we don't allow a host of the programs to talk a product to a
9:02 pm
child. it's illegal. and i'm the author of those laws, so i know it's illegal and the same thing is true here. why facebook can't just say flat out we won't allow influencers to try to push a child so that it's buying something because that child has now seen the video. it is just completely and totally unacceptable because we know the children lack the cognitive ability to decipher whether something is an advertisement, an influencer manipulative to kids and the same thing was true on television and here. we have to move the same values from a television over to the internet or else the same exploitive policies will be adopted bych marketers. research also finds that your algorithms send teen users into
9:03 pm
a spiral including misinformation about covid and adds about a diet pills and appetite suppressant's. will you commit to that facebook will not launch any platforms targeting children that employ algorithms promoting this a dangerous content? >> thank you, senator. we don't allow weight loss adds to be shown to people under the age of 18 already. >> that's reassuring because that content shouldn't exist anywhere on your platform. your platforms, however, from my perspective are promoting these materials and we cannot let that happen to kids. you seem to disagree with whether you are doing that but my research says you are so that is also something we should codify. if facebook has taught us
9:04 pm
anything it's that self-regulation is not an option. we need rules that federally mandated and have to be adhered to by companies and that's why today i am reintroducing the internet design and safety act partnering with senator blumenthal who i thanked for working with me on this bill. our legislation bans damaging website features like follower accounts, autoplay and push alerts that are harmful to kids. when it's advertising and comments like product placement and influencer marketing to kids that prohibits amplification of harmful and violent content to kids.t do you agree congress needs to pass this legislation and an act these safeguards for children
9:05 pm
online, yes or no? >> i think our company has made our position well it's time for the updated internet i regulations, and i would be happy to work with you on that. >> do you support this legislation? >> i would be happy to follow-up, certainly. >> your company has had this legislation in your possession for months and you are testifying before the committee that would have to pass this legislation and again i just feel the delay and obfuscation is the legislative strategy especially since facebook has spent millions of dollars on a marketing campaign calling on congress to pass the internet regulations and facebook purports to be committed to children's well-being so it's simply wrong that you will not support this legislation to enact protections on kids
9:06 pm
online. that's the only conclusion i can reach in preparation for this hearing for a long period of time. we know the top priority is its bottom line. congress has to step in and we have an obligation to enact and that means passing the act to take on the damaging and coercive tactics and updating the online privacy protection act and finally get young people up to the age of 16 a privacy bill of rights for t the 21st century and passing the launch of a major research project at the national institutes of health on the affects on children. it's time for us to do this. s we cannot wait. this is a crisis and we must act. let me turn and recognize senator thune. >> thank you, mr. chair.
9:07 pm
i along with many of my colleagues are deeply concerned about the lack of transparency and limited accountability of big tech companies. consumers have becomely increasingly troubled about thee way their information is used by social media platforms and how they decide what information we see. because of the secrecy with which they protect the algorithm practices that largely continues to be consumers have little or no idea how much information they see on the sites they are visiting. i urge the these bills for the platform accountability and transparency with the pack act and filter transparency act. this would increase transparency around the content moderation for the consumers and more due process and the level gives the option to engage with and turned platforms without being manipulated by these opaque
9:08 pm
algorithms and i would like very briefly to discuss those with you today. "the wall street journal" recently revealed facebook toorithm 2018 in the efforts postoo meaningful social interactions. instead the overhaul reworded outrage making the platform and gangry place. he was worried that they would hurt facebook subjective to engage more with facebook. should consumers be able to use facebook without being manipulated by algorithms designed to keep them engaged on the platform? >> that's not how we think about it. it's designed to connect people
9:09 pm
so friends, family, things that they are interested in. that change reduces the amount of time spent on the platform by about 50 million hours a day. the goal then was to promote that meaningful connection between friends and family. that said we have instituted control so people can based on chronological order as opposed to the ranking with numerous investments in transparency. we, like you, believe transparency is important. >> the past act i introduced along other things required the
9:10 pm
large online platform to move the illegal content within four days or lose that liability protection. do you believe that other platforms have been found to be illegal? >> we have policies for the illegal activity and content. >> there was a study published in thetu proceedings of the national academy of sciences act in 2014 that revealed they conducted a experiment on platforms that can be transferred to others emotional containment without their, awareness. we are learning that facebook's internal studiesud continue to show the emotional contagion if they produce among the users most recently routine users on
9:11 pm
instagram. what do you think should be done to make them aware that this occurs on facebookon and instagm and what can be done to counter the program against the emotional contagion on the facebook and instagram? >> i really appreciate that thoughtful question. nonetheless, the research identified areas where we could improve the product. so for example, we saw people indicated that when they saw uplifting or inspiring content that could move them away from other issues they are struggling with and so one of the things we are looking at what actually nudge somebody towards more inspiring content.
9:12 pm
>> my time is expired. let me just say i think it's timefo for us to look at some of these reforms and i have a couple of bills as i mentioned and i think that the users need to know they need more transparency and these algorithms are opaque and in many cases they ought to have an option to be able to see content that hasn't been moderated by the platform, so i hope that wet can make some headway on that and i hope that we do it soon. >> i call on senator lujan. >> we have heard from you today and others that facebook contests "the wall street journal" reporting on internal research rather than argued details. i have a simple question yes or no.
9:13 pm
does facebook have internal research indicating that instagram harms teams particularly the b perception of body image which disproportionately affects girls? >> we have released the two studies in relation with what the research showed more of them found their engagement helpful more than harmful and of the 12 issues that we looked at, 11 of them were the case forca young girls. >> one of the challenges that i'm facing here is that there's two sides to the story. the problem is facebook is telling both sides. you are seeing your own internal research is misleading and taken out of context so please help us get to the bottom of this. well facebook release the basis
9:14 pm
of the research minus any personally identifiable information to allow for independent analysis? >> we have already released two of p the projects. we are looking for additional research and greater transparency and invested in giving the researchers an opportunity to look at accessing the data in a way that is privacy protected. in addition we fund the research to grant it's either yes or no well facebook release the basis of the research in the data set minus any personally identifiable information to allow for the independent analysis? >> looking to release more of
9:15 pm
that research. >> that sounds like a yes. am i incorrect? >> we have privacy obligations. >> that's why i'm trying to be clear. i'm asking you to release the data minus any identifiable information and if i am incorrect with your answer being interpreted a as yes, please correct me. >> i want to be really clear. >> yes or no and if the answer isn't yes, then it's no. april 11, 2018 i asked if facebook creates shadow profiles for nonusers that utilize the site without logging on or officially creating an account. despite ongoing reporting on this issue in response he claimed that he had never heard the term, quote, shadow profile. now in the context of today's discussion i will ask a slightly
9:16 pm
different question. yes or no does facebook or instagram collect personally identifiable information specific to individual children under the age of 13 without the consent of the children's parents or guardians? children under the age of 13 are not allowed on instagram or facebook. >> does facebook or instagram protect personally identifiable information specific to individuall children under the age of 13, is your answer no? >> grace factually, senator, we do not allow children under the age of 13 -- >> that isn't the question i asked. the question i asked, the same way that i asked on april 11 about the collection of misinformation, does facebook or instagram collect information specific to individual children under the age of 13 without the consent of those parents and if
9:17 pm
the answer is no, that is sufficient. >> senator, it would be my understanding that we don't simply don't allow them on our app. >> i appreciate that. i understand that the algorithm underpinning content moderation and recommendations on facebook and instagram change on a regular basis and the changes to existing algorithms has facebook ever first tested potential impacts the changes before they are rolled out for growth in revenue?f
9:18 pm
>> [inaudible] >> eshas facebook ever tested whether a change to its platform would later increase growth w in users respectfully this is not my particular area of expertise has facebook ever tested whether a change to its platform increases an individual or group of user propensity to post a violent or hateful language? >> this is not my area of expertise. i would be happy to take your questions back and get answers. >> i think with that last question we might get more responses to that. yes or no has facebook ever tested whether a change to its
9:19 pm
platform makes an individual or group of users more likely to consider self-harm? >> the research that has been released and has been reported on looks at whether a young person thinks that it occurred on our platform. while the numbers show about .5%, about a half a% do, that is one too many. as someone the dead a brother died by suicide as well as a close college friend, they contribute the suicidal ideation to the platform, that is one too many and we care deeply about it. there are product changes to address that so we have a suicide prevention reporting where you can connect with a crisis counselor right from that
9:20 pm
reporting. they can connect with the% immediately because the experts have told us when they connect with that person that is one of the best ways to present. we take this issue very seriously. >> in my final question, yes or no has facebook ever found a change to its platform to inflict harm on users or it would grow users or increased revenue? >> deeply about the safety and security on the platforms we've invested $12 billion and we have thousands ofth thousands of peoe working on this issue which is not how we would approach it. >> they made structural changes
9:21 pm
here by simply making research public by default allowing real independent oversight. and i look forward to that information being given to the committee. let l me just ask you refused to commit that the research will be made public. who will make that decision at facebook? >> if there's any person who will make the decision i do know that there are many people [inaudible] >> isn't it a fact that mark zuckerberg is the one who will make that decision? >> respectfully, senator, this is the kind of decision we need to look at our privacy obligations and we are looking to provide more transparency.
9:22 pm
>> with all due respect, the word transparency is easy to use. it's hard to do and so far, there's nothing that you've said to indicate to the findings, conclusions, recommendations, facts known to facebook about the harmful product that will be made available and in fact that a decision will be made by any specifics or by any particular individual. can you tell us more? >> respectfully, senator, i think that our commitment to transparency in the last few years should be a very good indication of our commitment.
9:23 pm
we are doing a tremendous amount to ensure transparency around the platforms and we are looking for ways to give independent researchers access to data for independent studies as well. >> that is perhaps one of the most discouraging parts of your testimony that you are relying on your past record of transparency for what you will do inco the future. the fact of the matter there are thousands of documents that we have only because a whistleblower has come forth. that is directly opposite of transparency. i realize that you are testifying about the efforts of facebook to counter those documents, but the only way to counteract is with real transparency.
9:24 pm
for years, instagram did nothing about eating disorders. it began to take some small steps only when a 14-year-old girl -- her name molly russell -- took her own life. she was getting trapped in that perfectrm storm that facebook researchers describe. your own researchers call it a perfect storm. our research has shown that right now int real time, instagram's recommendation will still latch onto a person in the security. a young woman vulnerability about their d body and drag them into dark places that glorify
9:25 pm
eating disorders and self-harm. that's what instagram does. in april, 2021, the fifth year facebook engineer raised concerns no one has decided to dial into eating disorders. they documented the problems we verify. so you knew. how long should it take to fix these problems. what are you going to do to address what we have found within the past week or so? >> we have been working this close to 2006 and we don't allow
9:26 pm
the promotion of other content on the platforms. expertsrt have told us that's really important and helpful to them. we've dedicated when it comes to this content and offer resources of support. that is work that's been generated out of this research and working with our experts. >> our time is limited. in your answer in response to my question what are you going to do to fix the problem? you are essentially saying there is no problem. is that right? >> actually, there are additional changes that we are looking at so for example it is
9:27 pm
helpful to them when they deal with issues like eating disorders and they are also looking at something like take a break where they encourage someone to take a break when they think they may be having certain kind of content. >> those that have been foster orro promoted? >> certainly, senator i think that we have issuestu in relatin to eating disorders within our society we take these things extraordinarily seriously.
9:28 pm
i can tell you we are working on it and in addition to all the things we already do, we would be happy to follow up with you and share progress in that direction. we take the issue very seriously. >> at least that is what you are telling us but all you are doing is looking at these possible steps. with r t all due respect, these steps are baby steps in the direction of trying to improve instagram and meet the serious problems that have been disclosed. let me come right to the point. instagram for kids has been paused [inaudible] we will be
9:29 pm
speaking to parents and talking to those like yourself, to experts. we want to getwe a this right ae know young people are online under the age of 12. we want to give their parents supervisory tools that they need so they can manage the amount of time. fundamentally we want them to parent their children. >> who will make the decision about how long instagram for kids is paused? mark zuckerberg, right? >> quite honestly, we work with experts to get to a comfortable place before doing so. >> senator blackburn. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let's go back to this issue all
9:30 pm
the data that you are collecting on kids through your program where you are tracking them and doing the digital experience survey. what do you do with that data and do you have the parents permission to do that research? >> whenever we do research we use extreme privacy protections and w with minors we certainly t parental consent. >> why don't you submit to us for the record a screenshot of what you use as a parental consent form, will you do that? >> senator, i would be happy to take your request back to the teams that do the research. a. >> we want a copy of the form ie
9:31 pm
has to be some kind of form. even if it is a big -- digital signature. will you submit those for the record? >> i will go back to the team and bring that request to them. >> okay. "the wall street journal" articles havealal had a big impt and helped bring some sunlight to your practices and i'm sure that mr. zuckerberg was not pleased that there is a lack of governance andck it's kind of hs way or the highway at facebook. how long have you worked at facebook? >> seven years. a. >> have you deleted any documents since you learned
9:32 pm
about whistleblowers wall street journal reporting? >> we wouldn't do anything in violation of any law. there are 60,000 employees. i have no idea what e-mail one of our 60,000 employees has deleted. >> okay well how are you restricting access to data internally? have your policies changed since "the wall streetic journal" article? >> not that i am aware of certainly. >> so you don't know if there's a parental consent form even though you say you have people sign one if you're going to do research on their children. i would be interested to see if it is similar to a medical
9:33 pm
release form that parents have to sign. you don't know if you have changed any practices about data handled internally or if you've eliminated data. will you commit facebook will not take revenge or retribution or retaliation against the whistleblower? >> senator we would never take retaliation against someone speaking in congress. that isn't who we are. >> but you're not going to say about the actions. i wasn't asking about speaking in congress but about the actions. are you aware of facebook enabling tracking on muslims ad
9:34 pm
in china when they would download messenger? are you aware that they put tracking spyware in china? >> senator, in fact we did not put that tracking spyware. we found that tracking spyware and removed it and briefed the senate on it. >> okay. how did senator blumenthal's office access instagram and an account for a 13-year-old and began to receive information about eating disorders and self harm content? what kind of artificial intelligence are you y using tht would direct them that?
9:35 pm
>> senator, we do not direct people toth words content that promotes eating disorders. that violates our policies. we use ai to find content like that and to remove it. >> you are saying the experience that senator blumenthal's office has is an outlier or b an anoma? is that correct? >> senator i haven't seen particulars -- >> a digital copy of the poster that he had here. thank you and mr. chair i yield back my time. >> we can make available to you all the information about how easily and readily we put this profile of a 13-year-old young woman.
9:36 pm
with many members for "the wall street journal" article demonstrating the disturbing conclusions ofrt facebook's research. conclusionsk' that mirror repeating under one in three teen girls reported the app made them feel worse about their body image suicidal thoughts, depression and eating disorders as a result of the apps used. unfortunately, this research did nothingco more than confirm anyf the intuitions and suspicions social media can be dangerous. i look forward to more studies
9:37 pm
on the impact of social media and mental health, however i am concerned by the consistent lack of transparency from facebook. the fact is this committee wouldn't be here without the brief whistleblower. an issue many of us sought answers to and now we seek answers to today. weem must remember that despite apps that report to be free for us to use, there is a new cost one that comes at the price of mental health. today's children struggle with how to grow up all while the million-dollar industries compete for their time, arinformation and attention.
9:38 pm
>> it would update the privacy protection act by placing strict restrictions directed at children have they conducted research into how children are more manipulated by highly personalized advertising? >> i wouldn't be familiar with that research. you can now target a young person based on their age, gender, location. we don't allow ads at all and i think we would want to know how we can safely provide an experience for young people. >> has facebook withheld any
9:39 pm
other information to the impact on mental health? here's why i asked. after a congressional hearingssn march about the impact of social media and children's health, mri quote the research that we've seen is to connect with other people could have positive mental health benefits. that's only one side ofe the coin. this answer only told part of the story. these documents reveal facebook knew that in the credibility and safety of facebook moving forward and is facebook withholding information on negative mental health
9:40 pm
consequences? >> one misleading report didn't provide the full context in fact the research showed many more people found it helpful when they were struggling these particular issues. the research isn't bombshell research. it is a similar research out of harvard and berkeley. eight out of ten people tell us they have a positive experience. if there's someone struggling on the platform we want to do product changes to improve and help support them. >> do you have information from the two out of ten who've not
9:41 pm
had neutral or positive experiences so you know how to adapt the presentation of the product to consider the fact some children seem harmed or negatively impacted by what they are seeing? >> i appreciate that question. some of the research that we did showed what they thought could be particularly helpful to them and one of the things they identify these content that talks about people overcoming these issues and uplifting content so we are looking at product changes for those individuals that are struggling. a. >> thank you, ms. davis. mr. chairman, i will yield back. >> i will yield to senator cruz for his question and i will be
9:42 pm
back shortly. >> thank you, mr. chairman. ms. davis, where are you right now? >> washington, d.c. in a conference room.r >> so you're in washington, d.c. why aren't you in this hearing room right now? >> this is where i was told to come. there's protocols for the safety of my family. >> facebook is in the process of hiding and taking accountability. you are not physically here even though you are blocks away from us. though you are sitting in a conference room but don't want to face senators and answer questions. last week a colleague of yours i guess didn't have the instinct of hiding. he came and was here for a hearing and we had hearings every week even with covid so it
9:43 pm
is witnesses that want to hide and avoid us that are not physically here and choose to do it over video but your colleague played the sergeant schultz game, remember the show hogan's heroes. his testimony essentially was i hear nothing i see nothing. when it they came to the research of the incredible harm that instagram is inflicting on the young girls, your colleague said he didn't know anything about it. he didn'tth cover those issues,o i would assume as the global head of safety you are familiar with these issues? >> certainly. >> so you're not going to plead ignorance as he did, is that right? >> answering questions about my area of expertise of course.
9:44 pm
>> one of the things reported is that mark zuckerberg was personally and directly aware of that research, is that correct? >> senator, mark pays attention to a lot of impact research that we do and i don't know of any specific research but i know he's looking at the research as we all are. i've worked with the research teams on a weekly, daily basis actually in relation to the safety and security. a. >> your next question is i don't know. it was reported mark zuckerberg was aware. have you ever discussed this research with mark zuckerberg, yes or no? >> this particular research i don't remember discussing that no. >> a minute ago you said this research was, and i wrote it down because the phrase jumped out at me. you said this is not bombshell
9:45 pm
research. i found that a pretty remarkable statement. "the wall street journal" reported that your researchoo concluded 13% of race users and 6% of users trace the desire to call themselves -- kill themselves to instagram. is that in your research? >> respectfully but the research shows if you look at it more carefully is about .5% indicate a connection of suicide to their instagram. that's .5% too many and we have blinvested incredibly heavily on suicide prevention on the platform. for example specifically dedicated -- >> how would you propose that i do that, have you released the
9:46 pm
research? >> was "the wall street journal" not telling the truth when it says 13% of british users and 6% of american users trace the desire to kill themselves on instagram and that is from "the wall street journal." is that a true or false? >> it's a misunderstanding of the research but i would point you to the research that goes through and explains. >> sehas that been released or not? >> we've released to specific studies. >> what are you keeping secret because youre are telling us its full research but at the same time you are not releasing the research, a so what is it?
9:47 pm
>> do you want us to examine the full research or not? >> so you've cherry picked the ones you want. have you released the research? if you really sit i will happily take a look at it. have you released the underlying research behindes that? >> senator, again i disagree with the characterizations. >> have you released the research behind it? >> you cherry picked so let me ask you if 6% of american users
9:48 pm
trace the desire to kill themselves to instagram you said that's not bombshell research. what would be if 6% is not, what wouldwh be? >> that is again a a mischaracterization and more importantly in that .5% there is an opportunity that would be helpful in these instances. >> what changed your policy after the report that said the teenagers using your product were significantly more likely to kill themselves, did you change the policies that any regard to prevent that? >> respectfully, senator we have experts we work with on a regular basis and we constantly update the policies. did you change your policies as
9:49 pm
a result of the research informing you t that your produs were making teenage girls significantly more likely to kikill themselves? >> the update on an ongoing basis.s. >> did you change your policies in response to this research, yes or no? >> based on expert guidance. >> so you're not going to answe thee question. your company conducted paid for research that informs you that your productsu were making teenage girls more likely to kill themselves. a two-part question number one have you quantified how many children have taken their own lives because of your products and number two, as the global head of safety for facebook what would you say to a mother or father who lost a child because
9:50 pm
of facebook products? >> first of all the research you are referring to [inaudible] as somebody that has had a brother and a college friend that's committed suicide, i would ask the utmost of empathy -- >> you didn't answer if you've done anything to quantify how many children have taken their own lives because of facebook products. has the company done anything to quantify, to put a number to it? >> research like that requires significant investments to understand -- >> is that a no.
9:51 pm
>> you've done no research to determine how many children have taken their lives because of facebook products. >> that isn't research that we could do. i'm sorry that it's not easy. let me suggest when you have children taking their own lives esit is worth doing in your characterization that it's not bombshell research and for those losing their children it is a bombshell in their lives and i understand facebook needs to make a buck and so the research isn't easy i apparently you are not doing it but there is a reason people across the country are horrified at this behavior. >> thank you mr. cruz. >> mr. lee you are recognized. >> i've long been concerned
9:52 pm
about adult content or sexually suggestive content has unique psychological effects on minors and i think it should be addressed when talking about team mental health. my first question to you is does fafacebook and, i mean, facebook and instagram allow the businesses to target their advertisements to children using your platform for those between the ages of 13 and 17. i just need a yes or no answer on that. >> thank you, senator. if you could allow me to explain how we do advertising i think that would be helpful.
9:53 pm
>> i would like a yes or no. if you need a sentence to add to that that's fine butut i would like a yes or o no. there are three things an advertiser can do around age, gender and location. we also prohibit certain ads to young peopleg including weight-loss ads and one of the reasons we are so invested in looking at things like instagram youth is to create more age appropriate experiences. >> you do allow some businesses to target two children. i need you to work with me on this. i'm not trying to play gotcha, a just a yes or no answer does facebook collect data, either facebook or instagram collect
9:54 pm
data or assign interests of adult related material to the profiles of children using your platform? by adult related material, i mean, things not limited to sexually suggestive content but also things like cigarettes, alcohol and other things that would be considered more appropriate for adults. >> senator, thank you for the question. we don't allow when we answer certain directives we don't allow tobacco at all. we also have policies you are
9:55 pm
referring to -- >> you are answering a different question than the one i asked. does facebook and instagram allow businesses to target children on your platforms with advertisements that are sexually suggestive, sexually explicit or that contain other adult themes for products? >> i would have to understand more what you mean but we don't allow young people to see certain types of content and i would have to see specifically what you're talking about and i would be happy to follow-up with you. >> what determines whatt is age appropriate and permitted by facebook to be targeted at children. l
9:56 pm
>> more categories that we don't allow. i mentioned a few of them. tobacco, alcohol, weight loss products. i would be happy to get you the full list. >> i would like to see that. i think that would be important to have and i hope that in the follow-up you could also let us know what data you are collecting about the interests. i hear stories about platforms including instagram to facilitate exploitation as well as easy access to pornography. each of these platforms have an app that is available and have
9:57 pm
an age rating guide to guide consumers to what is considered age-appropriate content for example on apple's store, instagram and facebook are rated for children 12 and up and on google play, instagram and facebook are both rated t for teens. it is the 12 plus rating, is the recommendation that facebook made to apple and google did those come from facebook? >> i can't hear you. i think that you are on mute.
9:58 pm
>> sorry about that, senator. this isn't my area of expertise. we don't submit and say this is the age. this isn't my area of expertise. i'm happy to get more informationn. >> a lot of these questions relate to the allegations that we are hearing about today about problematic content including content that is sexually explicit or suggestive or in some cases adult themed if not
9:59 pm
sexually explicit or suggestive, and a lot of those facts the content does exist, why is there such a disparity between the rating on the one hand and the content that is available on the other and what are you doing to promote appropriate age ratings and transparency about the content on your platforms, taking into account you've got a whole lot of teenage and child users and not all of that content is appropriate for them? is one of those things that i've thought about quite a bit in relation to my daughter and to sexually suggestive content as well as content that i thought could across media and social media impact her own body image and well-being.
10:00 pm
one of the things we committed to was giving parents supervisory tools in relation to the team. in part exactly what you're talking aboutut which is to give them the ability to better manage their child's experience, to actually potentially control portions and control their child's experience and certainly to give the visibility to make safe boundaries. ..
10:01 pm
>> are they appropriate for facebook or instagram or any other platform? and that likes facebook and instagram. and then in some cases be targeted. and it's not appropriate for children. are those age ratings
10:02 pm
appropriate? and then to answer those questions. >> we have had many conversations with apple and i will continue to have conversations with apple but i am asking your opinion as a facebookon executive. >> i don't have visibility into their instagram decisions that they make but we do have control over those experiences and that's what we are trying to do and then to develop experiences. and then tove ensure that they don't have access to inappropriate content.
10:03 pm
>> with the attractive nuisance in the common law keeps coming to mind but my time is expired. thank you mr. chairman. >> thank you senator lee we would be inviting other tech companies so that they would respond to the times of my —- the types of questions. and a few final questions that you were asked about possible retaliatory action. and then you said i think that is not who we are and there will be no legal action based on that but i'm asking you if
10:04 pm
there will be any legal action based on the disclosure of the document either from the whistleblower or anyone else? >> we have committed not to retaliate. >> that is a yes. >> there will be no legal action based on the disclosure of documents, facebook documents. that is a yes. correct? >>co senator, we have committed not to retaliating to this individual. >> and senator blackburn's question. so regarding these documents that have been disclosed publicly not just the two that
10:05 pm
facebook disclosed have you lockdown these documents shutting down other facebook employees quick. >> . >> it's not my understanding. >> you have not. that is your testimony? >> i can certainly follow up and get an answer for you. >> i would like you to confirm if you were those documents and research the finding and recommendations are available to others with facebook. i will just ask you you have declined to commit that any more of those documents will be made available. who in the company will get back to us in response to that question? >> we will be sure to follow up with your office. and then we will come back to
10:06 pm
you. >> will you commit to ending? >> we actually don't do that. 's those people setting up accounts you refer to that policy with those minor actions that sometimes they would like t to have an account with the smaller group of friends. >> this is a product or service not talking about google or apple. it is facebook. correct? >> that is playing for a type of account.
10:07 pm
>> i'm not sure i understand exactly what you are asking. we have actually given them additional privacy options to address those kinds of issues so we can have more privacy. >> i don't think that's an answer to my question. so we have another vote. i don't think any of my colleagues have any other questions. senator sullivan. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> i am so glad you are here.
10:08 pm
so ms. davis i want to ask you but i have three daughters and when i read the wall street journal, i was shocked but in some ways i'm'm not surprised because i thinkot we have seen a lot of this. so when you are looking at your applications, services , do you balance the mental health needs of americans versus the addictive nature of the products that you sell? >> thank you senator. so first of all i don't agree with that characterization of our product actually we do think. >> i'm sorry.'t
10:09 pm
but i will interrupt what don't you agree with? the addictive nature? >> yes. >> addictive nature versus mental health? watch two phrases do not agree with? p>> i disagree calling it addictiveic. >> i will drill down on this. you d don't think your products are addictive in terms of teenagers constantly wanting to be engaged in social media? >> as a parent i haven't met a period who doesn't think about the time their child spends on their phone and one of the things we have done is to address that people are aware
10:10 pm
how much time they are spending there is a dashboard you can actually set a reminder and in addition to look at something called take a break. >> i will get to mental health but i want to drill down on the addictive element that is a part of your business model to have more eyeballs for a longer amount of time engaged using our services? >> effect ons. —- respectfully senator that is not how we go. we made changes for more meaningful interactions knowing that led impact the time spent 50 million hours per day and then to try to have a more positive
10:11 pm
experience. >> can you address the issue of mental health? we were awareyo of these mental health challenges for teenage girls? you see the statistics more broadly for teenage american females. what are you doing to address that and were you aware of the's challenges according to the wall street journal. >> senator i am very aware i used to be a middle school and high school teacher and that comes with some challenges and that is reflected in our platform and when we have done this research and then how we
10:12 pm
could potentially change to help somewhat we saw with that research out of 12 challenging issues of loneliness and sadness martin said about retheir experience was more helpful than harmful. >> do you believe that? >> we actually make those changes? >> i'm sorry going to interrupt. my time is short. do you have evidence that those issues of isolation, mental health, do you have evidence that those challenges are mental health challenges are actually for it by using instagram more or less? are you telling me that the
10:13 pm
use of your products actually limits those challenges? it is the most obvious that you increase those challenges so what is your testimony today? and that is reduce that is that what you said? that is quite remarkable. >> but this research is not causal research with the platform the members that you are talking to so what is really important here is thatg this research has been used to
10:14 pm
make product changes. so we can be more supportive. so for example take a break that's what i mentioned earlier. so you don't rabbit hole down the direction so also meeting someone so they told us that content can be helpful. our goal here isow right now the research shows eight out o of ten if they have a positive to neutral experience. we won a better experience for teens. >> . >> and the chairman will come
10:15 pm
back to wrap this up. so the issues of mental health and depression and isolation and the social media engagement particularly for teenagers we will see this and more and more studies you mentioned take a break. i'm not a big fan of the chinese communist party but i instinctively disagree with. but to see the way they do things. i guess it was an edict on high from the party of president xi but they told teenagers to take a break.
10:16 pm
and limit the amount of time that a teenager in china can spend on social media or gaming. do you think the us government needs to look at doing something like that? as an edict if you guys want? i believe to look back 20 years from now with a massive social mental health challenges that were created by the sarah?ne when teenagers had phones in their faces starting in seventh and eighth grade and then continue? and then we will look back and say what in the hell were we thinking? it might be the one time to say what we like a chinese communist party say take a break and to take a break with
10:17 pm
over 1 billion people and should the united states government think about doing something like that? >> respectfully. >> not relying on you because i do think your business model in part is eyeballs and time spent online with your services. i think that's pretty obvious. if you have less viewers in time, you will get less revenue. can you really, on your own help people take a break or do we, the us government have to help people take a break like the chinese are doing right now? >> actually senator, i think there is some complexity. so for example, during covid people used apps like ours to stay connected and it was a lifeline for thosein who cannot go to school or college or graduation.
10:18 pm
they actually provided them with a way to stay connected to friends and family. so it is a bit more complex than that. that said, i would like apps like ours to build experiences so parents can have control over the time they are spending similar to messenger kids. parents would farmer welcome the ability to seto time controls and have an edict on high over the top how much time they spend. >> what do you think of the chinese edict? i know you're not allowed in china but what do you think of it? >> . >> as a parent i would much determine my child's time online than have china tell me how to raise my child. >> okay. fair enough.
10:19 pm
i will move to recess this hearing for a few minutes until the chairman comes back. ms. davis. hold on for a few more minutes. the chairman will be back in a couple minutes. so for now, this hearing stands in recess until the arrival back of the chairman. [inaudible conversations]
10:20 pm
>> i am hopeful our witnesses that are still online that are with us. i was going to offer her the opportunity if she has anything to add. in conclusion. >> hi senator. can you hear me? the only thing that i would add is that i look forward to the hearing with tiktok and others will come. it is important fort us to hear from companiesad that already start to provide these two young people under the age of
10:21 pm
13. tiktok and youtube and google so to understand as an industry we face an issue. we are trying to figure out a way with parents and families. >> i take your point and tiktok with others will be invited. and others will be here. and then each has its own responsibility. the race to the bottom has to stop and so facebook cannot be trusted to hold himself accountable nothing personal to you and in fact and then to
10:22 pm
make these decisions about disclosure instagram for kids on pies these with mark zuckerberg. but the point is right now, facebook has failed to hold itself accountable and congress and the public must. so we are concluding this hearing and the a record will be held open in case we have questions we really appreciate you participating and we look forward to your responses to the question. thank you very much. the hearing is adjourned. >> thank you for the naopportunity.
10:23 pm
[inaudible conversations]
10:24 pm
>> two weeks before the history on —- the us could default calling on republicans allow the senate to suspend the debt ceiling with only a simple majority vote by passing the vote filibuster. and later mitch mcconnell responded by saying democrats should pass the debt limit increase on their own but through the budget reconciliation process. >> on the day this majority commenced its work i promise this chamber would meet the challenges that face our nation.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on