Fb government will testify at Senate listening to after a report finds Instagram is damaging teenage psychological well being


Antigone Davis, Facebook’s Head of Global Safety, speaks during a round table discussion on cybersecurity and technology at the White House March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Facebook agreed to send Antigone Davis, global security chief, to testify before the Senate’s Consumer Protection Subcommittee on Sept. 30, a Facebook spokesperson told CNBC.

The Washington Post reported the news Thursday.

The hearing comes after the Wall Street Journal published a series of reports detailing internal discussions at Facebook, based on documents received. One of the articles that sparked anger among lawmakers revealed that Facebook conducted research showing its Instagram app had a negative impact on the mental health of many teenagers, despite statements from top executives only that highlighted the positive impact of the platforms. Legislators from both parties have asked for answers from Facebook.

Instagram public policy director Karina Newton wrote in a blog post following the report that the company is looking for ways to encourage users to pursue more uplifting content.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., The senior subcommittee member, told CNBC last week about the upcoming hearing, saying she expected representatives from Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, Snap and YouTube would be owned by Google. It’s not yet clear which, if any, companies besides Facebook will have a witness at next week’s hearing.

A YouTube spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that the company was working to set a date to testify about its privacy and child safety policies. According to YouTube, the company first learned of the September 30 hearing date on September 10, which was later than other witnesses. YouTube said it requested additional prep time, but the request was denied.

A Snap spokesperson also said the company continues to work with the committee.

Spokespeople for the other companies mentioned did not respond immediately.

Blackburn said in her previous CNBC interview that her staff spoke to a Facebook whistleblower about the same documents that were made available to the Journal. The Post reported Thursday that the whistleblower plans to go public before the end of the year, possibly through a testimony in front of Congress, according to an unnamed Blackburn adviser.

Blackburn and Facebook spokesmen did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the reported potential statements of the whistleblower.

At a hearing earlier this week that was supposed to focus on data and antitrust law, lawmakers instead advised a Facebook data protection officer on the Journal article. Many of the same senators will have another opportunity to question Facebook at next Thursday’s hearing.

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