CRACKDOWN BEGINS: Facebook, Instagram unveil new “safety” controls for teens using its platform

Following the congressional testimony that Facebook’s platform is harming children, the company will introduce a new set of features including encouraging teens to take breaks from using their partner app Instagram and “nudging” teens if they see content that is not conductive to their well-being.

The California based company is also planning to introduce controls that would allow adults of teens to supervise what their teens do online on an optional basis. This initiative comes after Facebook announced that they would be pausing their work on the Instagram for Kids project. Through all of these initiatives, however, critics are skeptical that the new features will be effective.

Facebook’s vice president for global affairs, Nick Clegg, outlined the new controls Sunday, according to Today. Clegg made various appearances on Sunday news shows including CNN’s “State of the Union” and ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” where questions about Facebook’s use of algorithms and its role in spreading misinformation ahead of the January 6th Capitol riots arose. 

“We cannot, with a wave of the wand, make everyone’s life perfect,” Nick Clegg told Dana Bash on “State of the Union”.  Clegg continues on to say, “What we can do is improve our products, so that our products are as safe and as enjoyable to use.”

According to Clegg, he says Facebook has invested $13 billion over the years to make sure that the platform is safe to use and that there are over 40,000 people employed working on these issues. Clegg has as far to say that regulations should be put into place so that “people can match what our systems say they’re supposed to do from what actually happens.”

The influx of interviews come after whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former data scientist with Facebook, went in front of Congress and accused the social media giant for failing to make necessary changes to their platforms after internal research showed harm to teens.

Haugen also claimed that Facebook was being dishonest in the fight against misinformation. Her accusations were supported by tens of thousands of pages of internal research documents that she acquired before leaving the company. [Today]

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