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Facebook will be bombed by lawmakers in the United States on Thursday after reports that it allegedly launched an investigation showing its drug abuse among young people sparked outrage among politicians.
Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global security chief, is set to be the only witness before a Senate business committee on the so-called Internet Protecting Children: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms.
This follows an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, based on articles in which another author was not named. His comments include claims that internal Facebook researchers have found that using Instagram, a company’s photo sharing app, can pose a challenge to young people’s health – for example, boosting their interest in photography.
The report also said that the company has kept this a secret, although councilors have been asking them this year about how Instagram affects young people.
In a separate report, the Journal also said that Facebook has explored ways to target the pre-market market as it seeks to retain younger users in the Snapchat and TikTok competitions, based on internal company documents.
Facebook shares have fallen by almost 10% this month as it struggles with its biggest social problems since Cambridge Analytica fraud, and as a result of Apple’s recent changes advertising campaigns.
Facebook has strongly criticized the Journal’s findings in its research, criticized the newspaper as “selective” and expressed the boss’s intentions.
The company two were released of internal documents mentioned in the survey late Wednesday. This includes notes that show that the findings are limited and, at one time, described the language of the researchers as “myopic”.
Facebook said Tuesday it would take a break launch of Instagram Kids, a type of program for children under 13, to give the company time to include feedback from policy makers, parents and child rights activists.
Facebook indicated that it would eventually continue with the plans, saying that a special platform could provide additional parental controls and better protect vulnerable children if they lie about their age using large platforms. Users must be at least 13 years old to join Instagram or Facebook.
Mr Davis should also be asked to address concerns among lawmakers that Facebook programs monitor children online, make them predators and deliberately designed to become drug dealers in the company in search of profits.
According to the Journal, researchers on Facebook asked if there was a “way to get play dates to inform children / growing among children?” a children’s texting program, according to one internal document. In another, it called preteens “an important but unused audience”.
“The language we used to describe the study was not well thought out – and it does not reflect our approach,” Facebook said.
The crisis in the company seems to be over. Whistleblower, who recently met with several members of Congress, is expected to disclose who he is on the news program. 60 minutes on the Sabbath.
He will also testify at another Senate meeting next week, according to Democratic filmmaker Richard Blumenthal. “The evidence of this whistleblower is very important to understand what Facebook knew about the dangers of the platform for young users, when they knew, & what they did,” said Blumenthal, who sits on the business committee, he wrote on Twitter.