Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, is testifying before the Senate today about the impact of Instagram on teens’ mental health. His first appearance before the Senate, this is just one of several hearings that have taken place ever since whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked documents from Facebook — now Meta — showing that the company knew it was harming teen girls.
In July, Instagram gestured toward teen user safety by implementing a policy that made all accounts from users under 16 private by default. But Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said at the hearing that just yesterday, her team made an account for a 15-year-old, which didn’t default to private. She asked Mosseri directly why this happened.
“It turns out that we default those under the age of 16 to private accounts for the vast majority of accounts, which are created on Android and iOS,” Mosseri said. “We have missed that on the web and we will correct that quickly.”
Failing to uniformly implement the feature is a significant oversight for a company keen to look proactive on protecting its youngest users, particularly because the loophole remained open for months undetected.
Facing legislative pressure, Instagram continues to add more safety features like “Take a Break” and parental controls, which will roll out in 2022. Following the whistleblower leaks, Mosseri paused the development of Instagram Kids, a product designed for users younger than 13.
This story is developing…