Following a series of reports from the Wall Street Journal on Facebook Inc FB, and the impact of it’s photo-sharing platform Instagram, the social media giant is now responding.
What Happened: Nick Clegg, Facebook Vice President of Global Affairs, outlined the company’s reaction to the WSJ reports in a post on Facebook’s blog on Saturday. “At the heart of this series is an allegation that is just plain false: that Facebook conducts research and then systematically and willfully ignores it if the findings are inconvenient for the company.” Clegg writes.
“This impugns the motives and hard work of thousands of researchers, policy experts and engineers at Facebook who strive to improve the quality of our products, and to understand their wider (positive and negative) impact.”
The WSJ articles detailed how Facebook’s content moderation system allowed millions of politicians and celebrities to violate the platform’s user guidelines.
According to Facebook documents obtained by the Journal, researchers hired by the tech giant examined the impact of Instagram on young users' mental health and found that 32% of teen girls who "felt bad about their bodies" said the photo-sharing platform made the issue worse.
Why It Matters: U.S. lawmakers are taking steps to investigate Facebook following the WSJ reports. Senators Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., who are the chair and ranking member of a Senate commerce subcommittee on consumer protection, plan to investigate the tech giant over its knowledge of Instagram's impact on teens.
In his Facebook blog post, Clegg addressed the company's efforts to study the impact of social media. “Each study has limitations and caveats, so no single study is going to be conclusive,” he writes. “We will continue to invest in research into these serious and complex issues. We will continue to ask ourselves the hard questions. And we will continue to improve our products and services as a result.”
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