Instagram boss faces Senate committee grid

Instagram chief CEO Adam Mosseri is proposing to create an industry body that would set standards for all social media companies to follow. He pitched his idea this week before a congressional committee, and lawmakers have responded with criticism and cynicism.

Mosseri recommended that the proposed industry body made up of regulators, parents of young social media users and industry partners determine best practices for social media companies to verify the age of users, create age-appropriate experiences and create parental controls. Mosseri, Instagram CEO since 2018, appeared before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Wednesday.

Mosseri also said he believes it is important for Instagram to be transparent about its content algorithms and to provide data for research conducted by third parties.

“I can urge you today to provide meaningful access to the data so that third-party researchers can design their own studies and draw their own conclusions,” he said at the hearing.

However, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Said companies like Instagram have lost public trust and an industry body setting standards would not have the same effect as new regulations to protect consumers. children and ensure the transparency of algorithms.

Instagram and its parent company Meta, formerly known as Facebook, have come under fire in recent months for negatively impacting adolescent mental health. Whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked internal Facebook documents earlier this year showing the company’s research into how Instagram is harming teen mental health and has testified at numerous Congressional hearings on the matter.

The Senate Trade Committee in particular has held several hearings with executives from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube to discuss possible regulatory remedies.

Blumenthal said in Wednesday’s hearing that the days of “self-checking” for big tech companies and social media powers are over.

The legislation is coming.

Ricard BlumenthalUS Senator (D-Conn.)

“The legislation is coming,” said Blumenthal. “We have to make sure that the responsibility lies with the big techs to bring a safe product to market. It can not be allowed to conceal when the products harm children. “

Blumenthal said Congress is pursuing several avenues of regulation, including removing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act’s content liability immunity for social media platforms, adding regulations for algorithms dictating the content that populates the platforms and extending children’s privacy protections online.

Also this week:

  • The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals granted Apple’s request to stay an order by U.S. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to change its App Store rules by December 9 to allow developers to apps promote payment options outside of the app. The order is the result of a legal battle between Apple and the creator of Fortnite, Epic Games. With the order on hold, Apple won’t have to make any changes to its App Store until the process to appeal Rogers’ decision is complete, which could take years.
  • The Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of four unions, has filed a complaint against Amazon with the Federal Trade Commission. The complaint alleges that Amazon is misleading consumers and violating Section 5 of the FTC Act by not clearly disclosing which of its search engine results are paid ads rather than organic. According to the complaint, “For the country’s largest online retailer, with a growing dominance of online advertising, to engage in such massive consumer deception requires immediate and aggressive action by the Commission.”

Somewhere else:

  • Reuters reports that Microsoft is on the verge of obtaining European Union anti-rust approval for its acquisition of speech recognition and artificial intelligence company Nuance Communications. The $ 19.7 billion deal was first reported in April and has already received US approval.

Makenzie Holland is a news writer covering major tech and federal regulation. Prior to joining TechTarget, she was a general reporter for the Wilmington StarNews and a crime and education journalist at Wabash Plain Merchant.


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