Global head of security Antigone Davis stresses Facebook’s ‘proactive’ practices
Lawmakers questioned Facebook’s global security chief at the hearing, which aimed to understand how much the company knew about data indicating harmful effects of the platform’s products on teen users.
recently Wall Street Journal investigation disclosed a number of internal metrics that Facebook uses or is aware of and either ignored or is less than transparent about it, including harmful effects – most notably, Instagram – on users’ mental health may be affected.
Facebook’s Antigone Davis Appeared in a video feed before the Senate subcommittee To address the report Thursday morning on consumer protection, product safety and data security. The hearing began with a reading of statements from committee members on the intent of the session, which focused on Facebook’s alleged abuse of its position and influence.
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“The time to act is now,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
Davis read a prepared statement in which she made a strong defense of Facebook’s practices regarding teens and safety. They highlighted research that Facebook claimed was instead more a help than a hindrance to the mental health and well-being of teens.
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“The most important thing about our research is what we’ve done with it,” Davis said. “We have a long track record of using our internal research and external research and close collaboration with experts to improve our apps and provide resources for people to use them.”
However, members of the subcommittee were not moved by Davis’ defense. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn, referred to leaked internal documents and information that painted a picture of a company that was fully aware of the harmful effects of its products — and chose to ignore them.
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“I don’t understand, Ms. Davis, how can you deny that Instagram isn’t exploiting young users for its own sake,” Blumenthal said. He cut a response from Davis to state that the reports of the Journal’s investigation are from Facebook, but Davis did not admit to blatantly denying the reports.
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Blumenthal insisted, “I ask you to commit to the full disclosure of the thousands of pages of documents that whistleblowers hold, and more that can be made available,” but Davis cited “privacy concerns.” citing no such commitment.
This is a developing story.