House Republicans Say Facebook Lied About Risks to Teens

House Republicans are pointing to a Wall Street Journal report to argue that Facebook has for years deceived them about the negative effects its platforms have on teenage users.

The social media giant has conducted multiple studies that show that Instagram encouraged eating disorders and depression in teenage girls, according to documents obtained by the Journal. But when Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee in March requested Facebook’s internal research on how social media affect children, the company punted. In a letter to the committee, Facebook said conducting research on the question is difficult and that experts disagree on “how much screen time is ‘too much.'”

“Facebook refused to comply with our request and we now know why,” committee ranking member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.) told the Washington Free Beacon. “This also leaves us wondering what else they are hiding. We will continue to demand transparency from Facebook and other Big Tech companies, especially as it relates to the harm their products have on our children.”

A spokesman for another committee Republican, Colorado representative Ken Buck, had similarly harsh words for social media platforms. Big Tech companies have “almost unchecked power” and answer “only to themselves,” the spokesman said. He called on Congress to pass antitrust bills to “bring these dark and duplicitous monopolists to heel.”

Facebook has repeatedly attempted to deceive stakeholders who inquire after its operations. Other documents obtained by the Journal show the company lied to its formally independent Oversight Board. Facebook told the board that a system designed to protect high-profile users from being censored was used in “a small number of decisions.” In fact, Facebook exempts at least 5.8 million users from the content moderation guidelines it imposes on most people. “We are not actually doing what we say we do publicly,” a 2019 internal review found. (Read more from “House Republicans Say Facebook Lied About Risks to Teens” HERE)

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