UPDATED 7:31 AM PT – Monday, October 11, 2021
Senator Richard Blumenthal (R-Conn.) Continued his attacks on social media giant Facebook. In a series of tweets on Sunday, Blumenthal mocked Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, for his appearances in various corporate media.
Blumenthal said that even through Clegg’s speech and “crocodile tears,” the world now knows that the company has pushed destructive content to children just to make more money. Democrat Connecticut added, the Big Tech giant’s words don’t match his actions. He cited his calls to regulate Big Tech companies, but a willingness to fight Congress with millions of dollars and armies of lobbyists and lawyers.
If Facebook is serious about protecting our children online, it will cancel Instagram Kids, release its research, and support Mark Zuckerberg who comes to my subcommittee on trade to support real reforms, such as @SenMarkey & my KIDS Act and children’s privacy legislation.
– Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) October 10, 2021
Blumenthal compared the shares of Facebook to those of Big Tobacco. However, Clegg claimed that the comparison was a mischaracterization.
“I think it’s an extremely misleading analogy, of course we’re not,” the Facebook official said. “We are a social media app that many, many people around the world use because it brings utility, helps small businesses, brings joy, brings pleasure, connects you with the people you care and love the most. This is what Facebook is about. “
Clegg also said the company is working on ways to keep children away from negative content.
“We will introduce news controls for teens adults, obviously on an optional basis, so that adults can supervise what their teens are doing online,” he explained. “Secondly, we’re going to introduce something that I think will make a huge difference. And this is where our systems see a teenager watching the same content over and over, and it’s content that may not be conducive to their well-being. We will encourage them to watch other content. “
Facebook’s PR campaign began in response to whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee last week in which she described Facebook’s dubious policies. Haugen has warned lawmakers about lax surveillance of the company’s content, which she says is harming teenagers and children.
Senators were shaken by the testimony and many vowed to review efforts to reform social media companies and regulate their content.
“I think the time for conversation is over; the time to act is now, “said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)” Basically for so long social media companies and other technology platforms have been saying ‘trust us, we get it.’ Well, look where we are now. “
Senator Blumenthal added that if Facebook really wants to help keep children safe on its platform, the company needs to release its research and pressure CEO Mark Zuckerberg to work with lawmakers to enact real children’s privacy laws.
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