meta failed to protect teenagers, former employee tells us senate
A former employee of Meta Platforms told the United States Senate subcommittee that the social media giant failed to protect teenagers and did not do enough to address the issue of harassment on Instagram and Facebook.
Arturo Bejar, the former Meta employee, testified before the United States Senate. He revealed that Meta knew about harassment of teenagers on Instagram and Facebook but the company did not take any action to solve the issue.
The hearing took place to understand social media and its impact on teenagers’ mental health. He told the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and Law that Meta’s platforms can be harmful for teenagers who face bullying and harassment.
In 2021, Arturo Bejar conveyed a message to Mark Elliot Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, that nearly a quarter of teenage social media users between the ages of 13 and 15 reported that they had received unwanted sexual advances on Instagram.
Bill to protect kids on the internet
The US Senate is aiming to pass a bill that aims to protect kids on the internet. There is a huge support from lawmakers for the Senate committees of bills that aim to protect kids on the internet. The bill mandates social media platforms to give parents tools to protect children online.
Following Bejar’s appearance at the hearing, US lawmakers expressed frustration over the fact that large tech companies operate with unchecked power.
Bejar said, “I found it heartbreaking because it meant that they knew and they were not acting on it.”
Subcommittee Chair Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., positioned their bill, the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), to protect the teenagers.
Problems faced by teenagers
According to a survey of 13-15-year-olds on Instagram, conducted in 2021, 13% of respondents had received unwanted sexual advances on Instagram, 26% of respondents had seen discrimination against people on Instagram, and 21% felt worse about themselves and lower self-esteem because of others’ posts on Instagram.
Bejar said that his teenage daughter has been receiving unsolicited genitalia pictures from male users since she was 14. Bejar wrote in the email to Zuckerberg, “I asked her why boys keep doing that? She said if the only thing that happens is they get blocked, why wouldn’t they?”