A former Facebook engineer testified before a senate panel today, discussing the threats teenagers face on social media. He claimed that meta (formerly known as Facebook) dismissed warnings about unwanted sexual advances and bullying on Instagram, including experiences involving his own daughter.
CBS reporter Jolene Kent provides more on the story tonight. Meta, the company, is facing criticism once again. During the senate subcommittee hearing, former meta engineer Arturo Bear shared his personal experience as a father, stating that his child received unwanted sexual advances on Instagram.
He accused the social media giant of not doing enough to address the harmful impact of Facebook and Instagram on teenagers. Bear’s 14-year-old daughter and her friends encountered disturbing incidents on the platform, including harassment. Despite reporting these incidents to the company, no action was taken. In October 2021, while working as a consultant, Bear sent an email to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram head Adam Mosseri, describing his daughter’s negative online experiences. However, his outreach was ignored by the founder.
Bear expressed shock at the disregard for the mental health of children. He emphasized the importance of parents becoming more aware of their children’s digital lives, companies taking responsibility for their product designs, and policymakers enacting new laws to hold these companies accountable. A bipartisan bill aimed at protecting children online is currently progressing through the Senate.
In response to Bear’s claims, meta stated that their employees continuously work to keep young people safe and have already introduced over 30 tools to support teenagers and their families online. CBS reporter Jolene Kent concludes by highlighting the significance of this story for parents and families..