Eating secret accounts.
That are often hidden from their parents.
As unique value proposition in their words,
a unique value proposition,
a way to drive up numbers for advertisers
and shareholders at the expense of safety.
And it doubled down on targeting children,
pushing products on preteens.
Not just teens, but preteens.
That it knows are harmful to our kids.
Mental health and well being.
Instead of telling parents
Facebook concealed the facts,
it sought to Stonewall and block this
information from becoming public,
including to this committee when Senator
Blackburn and I specifically asked.
And still even now.
As of just last Thursday when a Facebook
witness came before this committee,
it has refused disclosure or even to
tell us when it might decide whether
to disclose additional documents.
And they continued their tactics even
after they knew the destruction it caused.
It isn’t just that they made money.
From these practices,
but they continued to profit from them.
Their profit was more important
than the pain that they caused.
Last Thursday the message
from Miss Antigone Davis,
Facebook’s global head of safety, was simple.
Quote This research is not
a bombshell End Quote.
And she repeated the line, not a bombshell.
Well. This research is.
The very definition of a bombshell.
Facebook and Big Tech are
facing a big tobacco moment.
A moment of reckoning.
The parallel is striking.
I sued Big Tobacco as Connecticut’s
I helped to lead.
The states in that legal action,
and I remember very, very well. The moment.
In the course of our litigation,
when we learned of those files that showed.
Not only that, big tobacco knew
that its product caused cancer.
But that they had done the research.
They conceal the files.
Now we knew and the world new and
big Tech now faces that big tobacco.
Jaw dropping moment of truth it is.
Documented proof that Facebook
knows its products can be addictive
and toxic to children and it’s not
just that they made money again,
it’s that they valued their profit.
More than the pain that they caused
to children and their families.
The damage to self interest and self
worth inflicted by Facebook today.
Will haunt a generation.
Feelings of inadequacy
and insecurity rejection.
And self hatred. Will impact.
This generation for years to come.
Our children. Are the ones who
are victims teens today looking
at themselves in the mirror?
Feel doubt and insecurity.
Mark Zuckerberg ought to be looking
at himself in the mirror today.
And yet, rather than taking responsibility.
And showing leadership. Mr.
Zuckerberg is going sailing.
His new modus operandi, no apologies,
no admission, no action, nothing to see here.
you need to come before this committee.
You need to explain.
To Francis Hogan To us to the world.
And to the parents of America.
What you were doing and why you did it.
Instagram’s business model is pretty
straightforward, more eyeballs,
more dollars, everything Facebook does.
Is to add more users and keep them on
their apps for longer in order to hook us,
Instagram uses our private information.
To precisely target us with
content and recommendations.
What will provoke a reaction?
Will keep us scrolling.
Far too often these recommendations
encourage our most destructive and dangerous
behaviors as we showed on Thursday.
We created a fake account,
my office and I did as a teen interested
in extreme dieting and eating disorders.
Instagram latched onto that teenagers
initial insecurities that then pushed
more content and recommendations
glorifying eating disorders.
That’s how Instagram’s algorithms.
And push teens into darker and darker places,
Facebook’s own researchers.
Called it Instagrams quote. Perfect storm.
Exacerbating downward spirals.
Facebook as you have put it.
This happens so powerfully maximizes,
profits and ignores pain.
Facebook’s failure to acknowledge and
to act makes it morally bankrupt.
Again and again,
Facebook rejected reforms recommended
by its own researchers.
Last week, Miss Davis said quote,
we’re looking at End Quote.
No specific plans, no commitments,
only vague platitudes.
These documents that you have revealed.
Provided this company with a blueprint for
reform and provided specific recommendation.
They could have made Facebook and
Instagram safe for the company repeatedly
ignored those recommendations from its own.
Researchers. That would have made
Facebook and Instagram safer.
Faith Facebook researchers have suggested.
Changing their recommendations.
To stop promoting accounts
known to encourage.
Instead of making meaningful changes,
Facebook simply pays lip service.
And if they won’t act.
And a big tech won’t act.
Congress has to intervene.
Privacy protection is long overdue.
Senator Markey and I have introduced the
Kids Act which would ban addictive tactics
that Facebook uses to exploit children.
Parents deserve better tools
to protect their children.
I’m also a firm supporter
of reforming Section 230.
We should consider narrowing this sweeping
immunity when platforms algorithms.
Amplify illegal conduct.
You’ve commented on this in your testimony,
and perhaps you’ll expand on it.
We have also heard compelling recommendations
about requiring disclosures of research
and independent reviews of these platforms.
and I plan to pursue these ideas.
The Securities and Exchange Commission should
investigate your contentions and claims,
Miss Hogan and so should the
Federal Trade Commission.
Facebook appears to have misled the public
and investors and if that’s correct,
it ought to face real penalties as a
result of that misleading and deceptive.
I want to thank all my colleagues
who are here today because.
What we have is a bipartisan congressional
road map for reform that will safeguard
and protect children from big tech.
That will be a focus of our subcommittee
moving forward, and it will continue
to continue to be bipartisan.
And finally, I’ll just end on this note.
In the past weeks and days,
parents have contacted me.
With their stories heartbreaking.
And spine chilling stories about
children pushed into eating disorders.
Bullying, online self injury of the most.
And sometimes even taking their
lives because of social media.
Parents are holding Facebook accountable
because of your bravery is how they?
And we need to hold accountable
Facebook and all big tech as well.
Again, my thanks to you.
I am going to enter into the record a
letter from 52 state attorneys general
and from two members of the Youth
Advisory Board of Sandy Hook Promise.
As long as there’s no objection
and I will now turn to the
ranking member center platform.
Thank you Mr.
Chairman and thank you for entering
that letter in the record that we have
from our states attorneys general.
Good morning to everyone.
It is nice to see people in this hearing
room and to be here for the hearing today.
We thank you for your appearance
before us today and for giving the
opportunity not only for Congress
but for a for the American people
to hear from you in this setting.
And we appreciate that Mr.
I think also thanks to you and your
staff that have worked with our team to
make certain that we had this hearing
in this opportunity today so that
we can get more insights into what
Facebook is actually doing as they
invade the privacy not only of adults,
but I’ve children and look at the
ways that they are in violation of the
Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
Which is federal law?
And looking at how they are evading
that law and working around it,
and as the chairman said,
I privacy and online privacy
passing a federal privacy standard
has been long in the works.
I filed my first privacy bill when
it was in the House back in 2012,
and I think that it will be this Congress
and this subcommittee that is going
to lead the way to online privacy.
Data Security Section 230 reforms and,
Senator Klobuchar always wants to talk
about anti trust and I have to give a nod.
Senator Markey is down there.
When we were in the House,
we were probably two of the only
ones who were talking about the need
to have a federal privacy standard.
Now, as the chairman mentioned last week,
we heard from Miss Davis,
who had global safety for Facebook,
and it was surprising to us that
what she tried to do was to minimize
the information that was in these.
Documents to minimize the research
and to minimize the knowledge
that Facebook had.
At one point I even reminded her the
research was not third party research.
The research was their Facebooks
internal research, so they knew.
What they were doing,
they knew where the violations were,
and they know they are guilty.
They know this.
Their research tells them this.
Uhm, last week in advance of our hearing,
Facebook released two studies and said
that the Wall Street Journal was all wrong.
They had just gotten it wrong,
as if the Wall Street Journal did not
know how to read these documents and
how to work through this research.
Having seen the data that you’ve
presented and the other studies that
Facebook did not publicly share,
I feel pretty confident that
it’s Facebook who has done the
misrepresenting to this committee.
Here are some of the numbers that
Facebook chose not to share, and Mr.
I think it’s important that we look
at these as we talk about the setting
for this hearing what we learned.
what you and I’ve been learning
over the past three years about
big Tech and Facebook.
And here you go,
66% of teen girls on Instagram
and 40% of teen boys experience
negative social comparisons.
This is Facebook’s research,
52% of teen girls who experienced
negative social comparison on
Instagram said it was caused
by images related to beauty.
Social comparison is worse on Instagram
because it is perceived as real life.
But based on celebrity standards,
social comparison mimics the grief
cycle and includes a downward
emotional spiral encompassing a
range of emotions from jealousy to
self proclaimed body dysmorphia
which Facebook calls conveniently
Is most severe in teams peaking at age 14?
Here’s what else we know.
Facebook is not interested in making
significant changes to improve
kids safety on their platforms,
at least not when that would result
in losing eyeballs on post or
decreasing their ad revenues in fact.
Facebook is running scared as they
know that in their own words,
young adults are less active and
less engaged on Facebook and that
they are running out of teens.
To add to Instagram.
So teams are looking at other platforms
like Tik T.O.K and Facebook is only
making those changes that add to its
users and numbers and ultimately
its profits follow the money.
So what are these changes allowing
users to create multiple accounts
that Facebook does not delete,
and encouraging teens to create second
accounts they can hide from their parents.
They are also studying younger and
younger children as young as eight.
So this I can market to them and while
Miss Davis says that kids below 13
are not allowed on Facebook or Instagram,
we know that they are because she told
us that they recently had deleted
600,000 accounts from children under age 13.
So how do you get that many underage
accounts if you aren’t turning a
blind eye to them in the first place?
And then in order to try to clean it up,
you go to delete it and then
you say, oh, by the way,
we just in the last month deleted
600,000 underage accounts.
And Speaking of turning a blind eye,
Facebook turns a blind eye to user privacy.
News broke yesterday that the
private data of over 1.5 billion.
1.5 billion Facebook users is
being sold on a hacking forum.
That’s its biggest data breach to date.
Examples like this underscore my
strong concerns about Facebook
collecting the data of kids and teens
and what they’re doing with it.
Facebook also turns a
blind eye toward blatant.
Human exploitation taking place
on its platform, trafficking,
forced labor cartels,
the worst possible things one can imagine.
Big tech companies have gotten away
with abusing consumers for too long.
It is clear that Facebook
prioritizes profit over the well
being of children and all users.
So as a mother and a grandmother,
this is an issue.
That is of particular concern to me.
So we thank you for being here today.
Miss Hagan and we look forward to
getting to the truth about what
Facebook is doing with users data.
And how they are abusing their privacy
and how they show a lack of respect for
the individuals that are on their network.
We look forward to the testimony.
Thank you Mr.
Thank you Senator Blackburn.
I don’t know where the ranking
member would like to make it.
If you don’t mind.
Blumenthal and and I will just
take a moment or two and I do
appreciate being able to speak.
As ranking member of the full
committee this this Miss Hogan this,
is this a subcommittee hearing,
you see some vacant seats.
This pretty good attendance
for our subcommittee.
There are also a lot of things going on,
so people will be coming and going.
But I’m I’m willing to predict that
this will have almost 100% attendance
by members of the Subcommittee,
because of the importance
of this subject matter.
So thanks for coming forward to share
concerns about Facebook’s business practices,
particularly with respect to.
Children and teens and of course,
that is the the main topic of our.
It’s the title of our hearing today.
Protecting kids online.
The recent relevation revelations about
Facebook’s mental health effects on children.
And its plans to target younger
audiences are indeed disturbing.
And I think you’re going to see a
lot of bipartisan concern about this
today and and in future hearings,
they just they show how urgent
it is for Congress to act against
powerful tech companies on behalf
of children and the broader public.
And I say powerful tech companies.
possessive of immense,
Their product is addictive and
people on both sides of this
dioces are concerned about this.
Talked to an opinion maker just
down the hall a few moments before
this hearing this person said.
The tech gods.
Have been mystified now,
and I think this hearing today, Mr.
Is part of the process of
demystifying big tech.
The Children of America are
hooked on their product.
It is often destructive and harmful,
and there is a cynical knowledge on
behalf of the leadership of these big tech
companies that that is true. Miss Hogan.
I I hope you will have a chance.
To talk about your work
experience at Facebook.
And perhaps compare it to other
social media companies.
Also look forward to hearing your
thoughts on how this committee and
how this Congress can ensure greater
accountability and transparency,
especially with regard to children.
So thank you, Mr.
Chairman and thank you,
Miss Hogan, for being here today.
Thanks Senator Wicker,
our witness this morning is Frances Hogan.
She was the lead product manager on
Facebook civic misinformation team.
She holds a degree in electrical
and computer engineering from Olin
College and an MBA from Harvard.
She made the courageous decision
as all of us here and many others
around the world know to leave
Facebook and revealed the terrible
truths about the company.
She learned during her tenure there.
And I think we are all in agreement
here in expressing our gratitude
and our admiration for your bravery
in coming forward. Thank you.
Miss Hogan. Please proceed.
Good afternoon chairman.
Blumenthal ranking member Blackburn
and members of the subcommittee.
Thank you for the opportunity
to appear before you.
My name is Francis Hogan.
I used to work at Facebook.
I joined Facebook because I
think Facebook has the potential
to bring out the best in us.
But I’m here today because I believe
Facebook’s products harm children,
Stoke division and weaken our democracy.
The company’s leadership knows how to
make Facebook and Instagram saver,
but won’t make the necessary
changes because they have put their
astronomical profits before people.
Congressional action is needed.
They won’t solve this crisis
without your help.
Yesterday we saw Facebook
get taken off the Internet.
I don’t know why I went down,
but I know that for more than five hours,
Facebook wasn’t used to deepen,
divides, destabilize democracies,
and make young girls and women
feel bad about their bodies.
It also means that millions of
small businesses weren’t able
to reach potential customers and
countless photos of new babies
weren’t joyously celebrated by
family and friends around the world.
I believe in the potential of Facebook.
We can have social media we enjoy.
That connects us without tearing
our democracy apart our democracy.
Putting our children in danger and
sowing ethnic violence around the world.
We can do better.
I have worked as a product manager
at large tech companies since
2006 including Google, Pinterest,
Yelp and Facebook.
My job has largely focused on
algorithmic products like Google
Plus search and recommendation
systems like the one that powers
the Facebook newsfeed.
Having worked on four different
types of social networks,
I understand how complex and
nuanced these problems are.
the choices being made inside
of Facebook are disastrous.
For our children. For our public safety.
For our privacy and for our democracy.
And that is why we must demand
Facebook make changes.
During my time at Facebook,
first working as the lead product
manager for civic misinformation
and later on counterespionage,
I saw Facebook repeatedly encounter
conflicts between its own profits
and our safety.
Facebook consistently resolved these
conflicts in favor of its own profits.
The result has been more division,
more harm, more lies,
more threats and more combat.
In some cases this is this dangerous
online talk has led to actual violence
that harms and even kills people.
This is not simply a matter of certain
social media users being angry or unstable,
or about one side being
radicalized against the other.
It is about Facebook choosing
to grow at all costs,
becoming an almost trillion dollar company
by buying its profits with our safety.
During my time at Facebook,
I came to realize the devastating truth.
Almost no one outside of Facebook
knows what happens inside of Facebook.
The company intentionally hides
vital information from the public
from EU S government and from
governments around the world.
The documents I have provided to
Congress prove that Facebook has
repeatedly misled the public about
what its own research reveals
about the safety of
children. The efficacy of its artificial
intelligence systems and its role in
spreading divisive and extreme messages.
I came forward because I believe
that every human being deserves
the dignity of the truth.
The severity of this crisis demands that we
break out of our previous regulatory frames.
Facebook wants to trick you into thinking
that privacy protections or changes to
section 230 alone will be sufficient.
these will not get to the core of the issue,
which is that no one truly
understands the destructive choices
made by Facebook except Facebook.
We can afford nothing less
than full transparency.
As long as Facebook is operating
in the shadows,
hiding its research from public scrutiny,
it is unaccountable.
Until the incentives change.
Facebook will not change.
Left alone, Facebook will continue
to make choices that go against
the common good our common good.
When we realized big Tobacco
was hiding the harms,
it caused the government took action.
When we figured out cars were safer with
seatbelts, the government took action.
And when our government learned
that opioids were taking lives,
the government took action.
I implore you to do the same here.
Today, Facebook shapes our perception of the
world by choosing the information we see,
even those who don’t use Facebook
are impacted by the majority who do.
A company with such frightening
influence over so many people over
their deepest thoughts, feelings,
and behavior needs real oversight.
But Facebook’s closed design
means it has no real oversight.
Only Facebook knows how it
personalizes your feed for you.
At other large tech companies like Google.
Any independent researcher can
download from the Internet.
The company search results and write
papers about what they find and they do.
But Facebook hides behind walls that
keeps researchers and regulators
from understanding the true dynamics
of their system.
Facebook will tell you privacy
means they can’t give you data.
This is not true.
When tobacco companies claimed that
filtered cigarettes were safer for consumers,
scientists could independently
invalidate these marketing messages.
And confirmed that in fact they posed
a greater threat to human health.
The public cannot do the same with Facebook.
We are given no other option than to
take their marketing messages on blind faith.
Not only does the company hide
most of its own data,
my disclosure has proved that when
Facebook is directly asked questions
as important as how do you impact the
health and safety of our children?
They mislead and they.
They choose to mislead and misdirect.
Facebook has not earned our blind faith.
This inability to see into Facebook’s
actual systems and confirm how they
work is communicated and work as
and confirmed that they work as
communicated is like the Department of
Transportation regulating cars by only
watching them drive down the highway.
Today, no regulator has a menu of
solutions for how to fix Facebook,
because Facebook didn’t want them to know
enough about what’s causing the problems.
Otherwise they wouldn’t.
Otherwise there would have been
need for a whistleblower.
How is the public supposed to
assess if Facebook is resolving
conflicts of interest in a way that
is aligned with the public good?
If the public has no visibility
into how Facebook operates?
This must change.
Facebook wants you to believe that the
problems we’re talking about are unsolvable.
They want you to believe in false choices.
They want you to believe that you
must choose between a Facebook full
of divisive and extreme content,
or losing one of the most important values
our country was founded upon free speech.
That you must choose between
public oversight of Facebook
choices and your personal privacy.
But to be able to share fun photos
of your kids with old friends,
you must also be inundated
with anger driven virality.
They want you to believe that
this is just part of the deal.
I am here today to tell you that’s not true.
These problems are solvable.
A safer free speech respecting more
enjoyable social media is possible,
but there is one thing that I hope
everyone takes away from these disclosures.
It is that Facebook can change but is
clearly not going to do so on its own.
My fear is that without action
divisive and extremist behaviors we
see today are only the beginning.
What we saw in Mian Mar and are now
seen in Ethiopia are only the opening
chapters of a story so terrifying
no one wants to read the end of it.
Congress can change the rules
that Facebook plays by and stop
them any harm that is now causing.
We now know the truth about
Facebook’s destructive impact.
I really appreciate the seriousness
which the members of Congress and the
Securities and Exchange Commission
are approaching these issues.
I came forward at great personal risk.
Because I believe we still have time to act.
But we must act now.
I’m asking you our elected
representatives to act.
Thank you, miss happen.
Thank you for taking that personal risk
and we will do anything and everything
to protect and stop any retaliation
against you in any legal action.
That the company may bring
to bear or anyone else,
and we made that, I think,
very clear in the course
of these proceedings.
I want to ask you about this idea
of disclosure you’ve talked about.
Looking in effect at a car going
down the road and we’re going to have
five minute rounds of questions.
Maybe a second round if you’re
willing to do it.
We’re here today to look under the hood.
And that’s what we need to do more in August.
Senator Blackburn and I wrote to.
Mark Zuckerberg and we asked
him pretty straightforward
questions about how the company.
Works and safeguards children
and teens on Instagram.
Def sidetracked in effect misled us.
So I’m going to ask you a few
straight forward questions to
breakdown some of what you have
said and if you can answer them
yes or no that would be great.
It’s Facebook’s research,
its own research ever found that
its platforms can have a negative
effect on children and teens,
mental health or well being?
Many of Facebook’s internal research
reports indicate that Facebook has a
serious negative harm on a non significant,
not a significant portion of
teenagers and younger and children.
And his Facebook ever offered features.
That it knew had a negative effect.
On children and teens mental health.
Facebook knows that it’s amplification,
algorithms, things like engagement based
ranking on Instagram can lead children from
very innocuous topics like healthy recipes.
I think all of us could eat a little more
healthy all the way from just something
innocent like healthy recipes to anorexia,
promoting content over a
very short period of time.
And has Facebook ever found again
and its research that kids show
signs of addiction on Instagram?
Facebook is studied a pattern
that they call problematic use.
What we might more commonly call addiction,
it has a very high bar for
what it believes it is.
It says you you you self identify that you
don’t have control over usage and that
it is materially harming your health,
your schoolwork or your your physical health.
5 to 6% of 14 year olds have the
self-awareness to admit both those questions.
It is likely that far more than 5
to 6% of 14 year olds are or are
even RR addicted to Instagram.
Last Thursday my colleagues
and I asked Miss Davis,
who was representing Facebook.
About how the decision would have
made whether to pause permanently
Instagram for kids.
And she said,
there’s no one person who makes
a decision like that.
We think about it that collaboratively.
It’s as though she couldn’t
mention Mark Zuckerberg’s name.
Isn’t he the one who will be making this
decision from your experience in the company?
Mark holds a very unique role in the
tech industry in that he holds over 55%
of all the voting shares for Facebook.
There are no similarly powerful companies
that are as unilaterally controlled and
and in the end the buck stops with Mark.
There is no one hurt currently
holding Mark accountable by himself
and Mark Zuckerberg in effect,
is the algorithm designer in chief correct?
I received an MBA from Harvard and they
emphasize to us that we are responsible
for the organizations that we build.
Mark has built an organization
that is very metrics driven.
It is intended to be flat.
There is no unilateral responsibility.
The metrics make the decision.
that itself is a decision and in the end,
if he is the CEO and the
chairman of Facebook,
he is responsible for those decisions.
The buck stops with him,
but the buck stops with him.
And Speaking of the Bucks stopping.
You have said that.
Facebook should declare moral bankruptcy.
I think it’s its actions and its failure
to acknowledge its responsibility.
Indicate moral bankruptcy?
There is a cycle occurring inside
the company where Facebook has
struggled for a long time to
recruit and retain the number of
employees it needs to tackle.
The large scope of projects that is chosen to
take on. Facebook is stuck in
a cycle where it struggles,
struggles to hire that causes
it to understaffed projects,
which causes scandals,
which then makes it harder to hire.
Part of why Facebook needs to come
out and say we did something wrong,
we made some choices that we
regret is the only way we can move
forward and heal Facebook as we
first have to admit the truth.
Like the way we’ll have reconciliation
and we can move forward is by first being
honest and declaring moral bankruptcy.
Being honest and acknowledging
that Facebook has caused.
And aggravated a lot of pain.
Simply make more money.
And it has profited off spreading
disinformation and misinformation
and sowing hate.
Faint Facebook’s answers to
Facebook’s destructive impact
always seems to be more Facebook.
We need more Facebook, which means more pain.
And more money for Facebook.
Would you agree?
I don’t think at any point Facebook set
out to make a destructive platform.
I think it is a challenge of that.
Facebook has set up an organization
where the parts of the organization
responsible for growing and expanding
the organization are separate and not
not regularly cross pollinated with the
parts of the company that focus on the
harms that the company is causing and
as a result regularly integrity actions.
Projects that were hard fought by
the teams trying to keep us safe
are undone by new growth projects.
That counteract those same remedies.
So I do think it’s a thing of their
organizational problems that need
oversight and Facebook needs help
in order to move forward to a more
And whether it’s teens bullied
into suicidal thoughts.
Or the genocide of ethnic minorities and.
Myanmar or fanning the flames that division.
Within our own country or in Europe.
They are ultimately responsible for the.
Immorality of the pain that’s caused.
Facebook needs to take responsibility
for the consequences of its choices
and used to be willing to accept
small trade offs on profit.
And I think I think just that act of
being to able to admit that it’s a
mixed bag is important and I think
that what we saw from Antigone last
week is an example of the kind of
behavior we need to support Facebook
and growing out of,
which is instead of just focusing on
all the good they do admit they have
responsibilities to also remedy the
harm Mark Zuckerberg’s new policy is.
No admissions, no acknowledgement.
Nothing to see here.
We’re going to deflect it and go sailing.
Turn to the ranking member.
Thank you Mr.
thank you for your testimony.
I want to stay with Mr Davis and some
of her comments because I had asked
her last week about the underage
users and she had made the comment.
I’m going to quote from her testimony if
we find an account of someone who’s under 13,
we removed them and the last three
months we removed 600,000 accounts
of under 13 year olds End Quote and.
I have to tell you,
it seems to me that there is a
problem if you have 600,000 accounts
from children who ought not to be
there in the first place.
So what did Mark Zuckerberg know about
Facebook’s plans to bring kids on
as new users and advertise to them?
There are reports within Facebook
that show cohort analysis where
they they examine out what ages do
people join Facebook and Instagram?
And based on those cohort analysis,
so Facebook likes to say children lie
about their ages to get onto the platform.
Reality is enough.
Kids tell the truth that you can
work backwards to figure out what
are approximately the real ages
of anyone who’s on the platform.
One Facebook does cohort analysis
and looks back retrospectively
and discovers things like you know
up to 10 to
15% of even 10 year olds in a given cohort.
Maybe on Facebook or Instagram.
OK, so This is why Adam Moceri,
who’s the CEO of Instagram,
would have replied to JoJo
Siwa when she said to him, oh,
I’ve been on Instagram since I was eight.
He said he didn’t want to know that.
Ah, so it would be for this reason, correct?
A pattern of behavior that I saw at
Facebook was that often problems
were so understaffed that there was
a kind of an implicit discouragement
from having better detection systems.
So, for example, I worked my last team
at Facebook was on the counter espionage
team within the threat Intelligence org,
and at any given time our team
could only handle a third of the
cases that we knew about.
We knew that if we built
even a basic detector,
we would likely have many more cases.
OK, then literally so yeah,
let me ask you this.
So you look at the way that they have
the data, but they’re choosing to keep
that data and advertise from it, right?
You sell it to third parties.
So what does Facebook do?
You’ve got these 600,000 accounts that
ought not to be on there anymore, right?
But then you delete those accounts.
But what happens to that data?
Does Facebook keep that data?
Do they keep it until those
children go to age 13?
Since, as you’re saying,
they can work backward and figure
out the true age of a user.
So what do they do with it?
Do they delete it?
Do they store it? Do they keep it?
How do they process that?
I am my understanding of Facebook’s
data retention policies and
I want to be really clear.
I didn’t work directly on that is
that they delete when they delete an
account they delete all the data.
Then I believe 90 days in compliance
with GDPR I with regard to
children under age on the platform.
Facebook do substantially more to
detect more of those children and
they should have to publish for
Congress those processes because
there are lots of subtleties and
those things and they could be
much more effective than probably
what they’re doing today got it.
Now staying with this underage
children since this hearing is all
about kids and about online privacy.
I want you to tell me.
How Facebook is able to do market
research on these children that are underage?
13 because Mr Davis was really,
she didn’t deny this last week,
so how are they doing this?
Do they bring kids into focus
groups with their parents?
How do they get that permission?
She said they got permission from parents.
Is there a permission slip or a form?
That gets signed and then how do
they know which kids to target?
Uhm, there’s a bunch unpack.
There will start with maybe how
did they recruit children for
focus groups or recruit teenagers?
Most tech companies have systems
where they can analyze the data
that is on their servers,
so most of the focus groups I read
or that I saw analysis of were around
Messenger Kids which has children on it.
And those focus groups appear to
be children interacting in person.
Often large tech companies use
either sourcing agencies that will
go and identify people who meet
certain demographic criteria,
or they will reach out directly based
on criteria data on the platform.
So for example,
in the case of Messenger kids,
maybe you would want to study a
child that was an active user and
one that was less active user.
You might reach out to some that
came from each population and so
these are children that are underage.
- Yeah. And they know it.
For some of these studies,
and I assume they get,
I assume they get permission,
but I don’t work on that.
OK, well we’re still waiting to
get a copy of that parental consent
form that would involve children.
My time is expired, Mr. Chairman.
I’ll save my other questions for our
second round if we’re able to get those.
Thank you. Thank you.
Senator Blackburn. Senator Klobuchar.
Thank you very much. Mr.
thank you so much.
Miss Hogan for shedding a light
on how Facebook time and time
again has put profit over people.
When their own research found that
more than 13% of teen girls say
that Instagram made their thoughts
of suicide words, what did they do?
They proposed Instagram for kids,
which has now been put on pause
because of public pressure.
When they found out that their
algorithms are fostering polarization
misinformation and hate that they
allowed 99% of their violent contact
to remain unchecked on their platform,
including lead up to the January 6th.
Insurrection why did they do?
They now as we know Mark Zuckerberg is
going sailing and saying no apologies.
I think the time has come for
action and I think you are the
catalyst for that action.
You have said privacy
legislation is not enough.
I completely agree with you,
but I think you know we have
not done anything to update our
privacy laws in this country.
Our federal privacy laws.
Nothing zilch in any major way.
Because there are lobbyists around
every single corner of this building
that have been hired by the tech industry.
We have done nothing when it comes to
making the algorithms more transparent.
Allowing for the university
research that you referred to.
Because Facebook and the other
tech companies are throwing a
bunch of money around this town
and people are listening to that.
We have done nothing significantly past
although we are on a bipartisan basis.
Working in the Antitrust subcommittee
to get something done on consolidation,
which you understand,
allows the dominant platforms to
control all this like the bullies
in the neighborhood.
Buyout the companies that maybe
could have competed with them.
And added the bells and whistles so
the time for action is now, so I’ll start.
I’ll start with something that I
asked Facebook’s head of safety when
she testified before us last week.
I asked her how they estimate the
lifetime value of a user for kids
who start using their products
before they turned 13.
She evaded the question and said
that’s not the way we think about it.
Is that right or is it your experience
that Facebook estimates and that
and puts a value on how much money
they get from users in general,
get to kids in a second.
Is that a motivating force for them?
Based on what I saw in terms of
allocation of integrity spending,
so one of the things disclosed in the
Wall Street Journal was that I believe
it’s like 87% of all the misinformation
spending is spent on English,
but only about like 9% of the
users are English speakers.
It seems that that.
Facebook invests more and users
who make them more money even
though the danger may not be evenly
distributed based on profitability.
Does it make sense that having a
younger person get hooked on social
media at a young age makes them
more profitable over the long term
as they have a life ahead of them?
Facebook’s internal documents talk about
the importance of getting younger users,
tweens onto Instagram like Instagram
kids because they need to have.
Like they know that children bring their
parents online and things like that,
and so they understand the value
of younger users for the long term.
Success of Facebook,
Facebook reported advertising revenue to be
$51.58 per user last quarter
in the US and Canada.
When I asked Miss Davis how much of that
came from Instagram users under 18,
she wouldn’t say do you think that
teens are profitable for their company?
I would assume so based on advertising
for things like television.
You get much substantially higher
advertising rates for customers who
don’t yet have preferences or habits,
and so I’m I’m sure there are some of
the more profitable users on Facebook,
but I do not work directly on that now.
There were major issue that’s
come out of this.
Eating disorders studies have found
that eating disorders actually
have the highest mortality rate
of any mental illness for women,
and I lead a bill on this with senators
capital in Baldwin that we passed into law,
and I’m concerned that this
algorithms that they have.
Pushes outrageous content,
promoting anorexia and the like.
I know it’s personal to you.
Do you think that their algorithms push
some of this content to young girls?
Facebook knows that their engagement
based ranking the way that they
picked the content in Instagram
for young users for all users
amplifies preferences and they have
done something called a proactive,
proactive incident response where they
they take things that they’ve heard,
for example like.
Can you be led by the algorithms
to anorexia content and they have
literally recreated that experiment
themselves and confirmed yes,
this this happens to people.
So Facebook knows that they are
that they are leading young users
to anorexia content.
Do you think they are deliberately
designing their product to be
addictive beyond even that content?
Facebook has a long history of having
a successful and very effective growth
division where they take little
tiny tweaks and then constantly,
constantly are trying to optimize it
to grow those kinds of stickiness
could be construed as things that
facilitate addiction, right?
Last thing I’ll ask is we’ve seen this
same kind of content in the political world.
You brought up other countries
and what’s been happening there.
On 60 minutes you said that Facebook
implemented safeguards to reduce
misinformation ahead of the 2020.
but turned off those safeguards
right after the election.
And you know that the insurrection
occurred January 6.
Do you think that Facebook turned
off the safeguards because they
were costing the company money
because it was reducing profits?
Facebook has been emphasizing a false choice.
They’ve said the safeguards that
were in place before the election
and implicated free speech.
The choices that were happening on
the platform were really about how
reactive and twitchy was the platform,
Like how viral was the platform and
Facebook changed those safety defaults
in the run up to the election because
they knew they were dangerous and
because they wanted that growth back.
They wanted the acceleration of the
platform back after the election.
They they returned to their
And the fact that they had to
break the glass
on January 6th and turn them back on,
I think that’s deeply problematic,
agree, thank you very much for
your bravery in coming forward.
Senator Thune thank you Mr.
Chair and ranking member Blackburn.
I’ve been arguing for some time that it
is time for Congress to act and I think
the question is always what is the correct
way to do it the right way to do it?
Consistent with our First
Amendment right to free speech?
This committee doesn’t have
jurisdiction over the antitrust issue.
That’s the Judiciary Committee,
and I’m not averse to looking at the
monopolistic nature of Facebook.
Honestly, I think that’s a real
issue that needs to be examined
and perhaps addressed as well,
but at least under this
there are a couple of things
I think we can do,
and I have a piece of legislation
and Senators Blackburn and
Blumenthal are both Co sponsors.
Called the filter Bubble Transparency
Act and essentially what it would do
is give users the options to engage
with social media platforms without
being manipulated by these secret
formulas that essentially dictate
the content that you see when you
open up an app or log onto a website.
I think need to hold big tech
accountable by reforming Section 230
and one of the best opportunities,
I think to do that,
at least for in a bipartisan way,
is the platform accountability
and consumer transparency.
Or the pack pack.
And that’s legislation that I’ve
cosponsored with Senator shots,
which in addition to stripping section
230 protections for content that
a court determines to be illegal,
the Pact act would also increase
transparency and due process for users
around the content moderation process,
in the context we’re talking about today.
With this hearing with a
major big tech whistleblower,
the PACT Act would explore the
viability of a federal program
for big Tech employees to blow
the whistle on wrongdoing.
Inside the companies where they work,
in my view,
we should encourage employees in
the tech sector like you to speak
up about questionable practices
of big tech companies so we can,
among other things,
ensure that Americans are fully
aware of how social media platforms
are using artificial intelligence
and opaque algorithms to keep
them hooked on the platform.
So let me I miss how we can just ask you.
We’ve learned from the information that
you provided that Facebook conducts
what’s called engagement based ranking.
Which you’ve described is very dangerous.
Could you talk more about why
engagement based ranking is dangerous
and do you think Congress should
seek to pass legislation like the
filter Bubble Transparency Act?
That would give users the ability to
avoid engagement based ranking altogether?
Facebook is going to say you don’t want
to give up engagement based ranking.
You’re not gonna like Facebook as much if
we’re not picking out the content for you.
That’s that’s just not true.
There are a lot of Facebook likes
to present things as false traces
like you have to choose between
having lots of spam like let’s say,
imagine we ordered our feeds by
time like an I message or on
their other forms of social media
that are chronologically based.
They’re going to say you’re gonna
get spent urine spammed like you’re
not going to enjoy your feed.
The reality is that those experiences
have a lot of permutations.
There are ways that we can make
those experiences where computers
don’t regulate what we see.
We together socially regulate what we see,
but they don’t want us to have that
conversation because Facebook knows
that when they pick out there,
the content that we focus on using computers,
we spend more time on their platform.
They make more money.
Uhm, the dangers of engagement based
ranking are that Facebook knows.
That content that elicits an
extreme reaction from you is more
likely to get a click, a comment,
or re share.
And it’s interesting because those
clicks and comments and shares aren’t
even necessarily for your benefit.
It’s because they know that other people
will produce more content if they get
the likes and comments and re shares.
They prioritize content in your
feed so that you will give little
hits of dopamine to your friends,
so they will create more content and
they have run experiments on people,
producers side experiments
where they have confirmed this.
you and your part of the
information you provided,
the Wall Street Journal.
It’s been found that Facebook altered
its algorithm in attempt to boost these
meaningful social interactions or MSI.
But rather than strengthening bonds between
family and friends on the platform,
the algorithm instead rewarded
more outrage and sensationalism.
And I think Facebook would say that
its algorithms are used to connect
individuals with other friends and
family that are largely positive.
Do you believe that Facebook’s
algorithms make its platform?
A better place for Morris users and
should consumers have the option to use
Facebook and Instagram without being
manipulated by algorithms designed to
keep them engaged on that platform?
I strongly believe like I’ve spent
most of my career working on systems
like engagement based ranking like when
I come to you and say these things.
I’m basically damning 10 years
in my own work, right?
Engagement based ranking.
Facebook says we can do it safely
because we have a I, you know,
the the artificial intelligence will
find the bad content that we know.
Our engagement based ranking is promoting.
They’ve written blog posts on how
they know engagement based rankings,
but the AI will save us.
Facebook’s own research says
they cannot adequately identify
dangerous content and as a result,
those dangerous algorithms that
they admit are picking up the the
extreme sentence, the division.
They can’t protect us from the harms
that they know exist in their own system,
and so I, I don’t think it’s just
a question of saying should people
have the option of choosing to not
be manipulated by their algorithms.
I think if we had appropriate oversight,
or if we were formed 2:30 to make Facebook
responsible for the consequences of
their intentional ranking decisions.
I think they would.
They would get rid of engagement based
ranking because it is causing teenagers
to be exposed to more anorexia content.
It is pulling families apart and
in places like Ethiopia it’s
literally fanning ethnic violence.
Uhm, I encourage reform of these platforms.
Not not picking and choosing
individual ideas, but instead making
the platforms themselves safer,
less twitchy, less reactive, less viral.
’cause that’s how we scalably
solve these problems.
Thank you. Miss Chair,
I would simply say let’s let’s get to work.
So we got some things we can do here.
Thanks, I agree, thank you, Senator.
Thank you, Mr.
Chairman, ranking member.
Thank you for your courage in coming forward.
Was there a particular moment when
you came to the conclusion that reform
from the inside was impossible and
that you decided to be a whistleblower?
There was a long series of moments
where I became aware that Facebook,
when faced with conflicts of interest
between its own profits and the common good
public safety that Facebook consistently
chose to prioritize its profits.
I think the moment which I realized we
needed to get help from the outside,
that the only way these problems
would be solved is by solving them
together and not solving them
alone was when civic integrity was
dissolved following the 2020 election.
It really felt like a betrayal of the
promises that Facebook can made to
people who had sacrificed a great deal
to keep the election safe by basically
dissolving our community and integrated
and just other parts of the company.
And I know they’re they’re responses that
they’ve sort of distributed the duties.
Yeah, that’s an excuse, right?
Uhm, I I cannot see into the hearts
of other men and I I don’t know
what they let me say it this way.
It won’t work right?
And I I can tell you that when I left
the company so my the people who I
worked with were disproportionately
maybe 75% of my pod of seven people.
Our product managers,
program managers mostly had come
from civic integrity.
All of us left the inauthentic behavior
pod either for other parts of the
company or the company entirely over
the same six week period of time,
so six months after the reorganization,
we had clearly lost faith that
those changes were coming.
You said in your opening statement that
they know how to make Facebook and
Instagram safer, so thought experiment.
You are now.
The chief executive officer
and chairman of the company.
What changes would you immediately institute?
An I would immediately establish a
policy of how to share information and
research from inside the company with
appropriate oversight bodies like Congress.
I would I would give proposed legislation
to Congress saying here’s what an
effective oversight agency would look like.
I would actively engage with academics
to make sure that the people who are who
are confirming our Facebook marketing
messages true have the information
they need to confirm these things.
And I would come immediately implement
the quote soft interventions that were
identified to protect the 2020 election.
So that’s things like requiring someone
to click on a link before re sharing it,
because other companies like Twitter
have found that that significantly
No one is censored by being forced to
click on a link before re sharing it.
I want to pivot back to Instagram’s
targeting of kids.
We all know that they announced a pause,
but that reminds me of what they announced.
When they were going to issue a
digital currency and they got beat
up by EU S Senate Banking Committee
and they said never mind and now
they’re coming back around,
hoping that nobody notices that they
are going to try to issue a currency.
Now let’s set aside for the moment.
This sort of the the business model,
which appears to be gobble up everything.
That’s the gross growth strategy.
Do you believe that they’re actually
going to discontinue Instagram kids?
Or they’re just waiting for the dust?
Settle I. I would be sincerely
surprised if they do not continue
working on Instagram kids and I would
be amazed if a year from now we
don’t have this conversation again.
Why? Facebook understands that if
they want to continue to grow,
they have to find new users.
They have to make sure that that the
next generation is just as engaged
with Instagram as the current one.
And the way they’ll do that is by making
sure that children establish habits
before they have good self regulation
by hooking kids by hooking kids.
I would like to emphasize one of the
documents that we sent in on problematic use.
Examined the rates of problematic use by age,
and that peaked with 14 year olds.
It’s it’s just like cigarettes.
Teenagers don’t have good self regulation.
They say explicitly, I feel bad when
I use Instagram and yet I can’t stop.
Uhm, we need to protect the kids.
Just my final question.
I have a long list of.
Misstatements, misdirections and
outright lies from the company.
I don’t have the time to read them,
but you’re as intimate with
all these deceptions as I am,
so I will just jump to the end.
If you were.
A member of this panel,
would you believe what Facebook is saying?
I would not believe.
Facebook is not earned our right
to just have blind trust in them.
Trust is last week one of the most
beautiful things that I heard on the on.
The committee was trust is earned and
Facebook is not earned our trust.
Thanks Senator Schatz, senator.
Ran and then we’ve been joined by the chair,
Senator Cantwell, she’ll be next.
We’re going to break at
about 11:30 if that’s OK.
’cause we have a vote.
And then we’ll reconvene.
Mr. Chairman, thank you.
The conversation so far reminds me
that you and I ought to resolve our
differences and introduce legislation.
So as Senator Thune said, let’s go to work.
Our differences are very minor.
Or they seem very minor in the face of
the revelations that we’ve now seen,
so I’m hoping we can move forward.
Senator, I, I share that view, Mr.
Chairman, thank you.
Thank you very much for your testimony.
What examples do you know we’ve talked about,
Teenage girls in specifically?
But what other examples do you know about
where Facebook or Instagram new its
decisions would be harmful to its users?
But still proceeded with the with
the plan and executed those harmful.
That harmful behavior.
Facebooks internal research is aware
that there are a variety of problems
facing children on Instagram that are.
They know that severe harm
is happening in children.
For example, in the case of bullying,
Facebook knows that Instagram dramatically
changes the experience of high school.
So when we were in high school
when I was in high school,
most kids looked at me and changed.
We went when I was in high school,
or most kids have positive home lives like
it doesn’t matter how bad it is at school,
kids can go home and reset for 16 hours.
Kids kids who are bullied on Instagram.
The bullying follows them home.
It follows them into their bedrooms.
The last thing they see before
they go to bed at night is someone
being cruel to them or the first
thing they see in the morning is
someone being cruel to them.
Kids are learning that their own
friends like people who they care
about them are cruel to them.
think about how that’s going to
impact their domestic relationships
when they become 20 somethings or 30
somethings to believe that people
who care about you are mean to you.
Facebook knows that parents today,
because they didn’t experience these things.
They’ve never experienced this addictive
experience with a piece of technology.
They give their children bad advice.
They say things like,
why don’t you just stop using it and
so that Facebook’s own research is
aware that children express feelings
of loneliness and struggling with
these things because they can’t even
get support from their own parents.
I don’t understand how Facebook
can know all these things and not.
Escalated to someone like Congress
for help and support in navigating
Let me ask the question in a in a
broader way besides teenagers or
besides girls or besides youth,
are there other practices at Facebook
or Instagram that are known to
be harmful but yet are pursued?
Facebook is aware that choice isn’t
made in establishing like meaningful
social meaningful social interactions.
So engagement based ranking that didn’t
care if you bully someone or committed hate
speech in the comments that was meaningful.
They know that that change directly changed
publishers behavior that companies like
BuzzFeed wrote in and said the content
is most successful on our platform is
some of the content we’re most ashamed of.
You have a problem with your
ranking and they did nothing.
They know that politicians are
being forced to take positions.
They know their own constituents
don’t like or approve of,
because those are the ones that
get distributed on Facebook.
That’s a huge huge negative impact.
The older people also knows that
they have admitted in public that
engagement based ranking is dangerous
without integrity and security systems,
but then not rolled out those
integrity and security systems to
most of the languages in the world.
And that’s what causing things
like ethnic violence in Ethiopia.
Thank you for your answer.
What is the magnitude of Facebook’s
revenues or profits that come
from the sale of user data?
Oh I’m, I’m sorry I’ve never worked on that.
I’m not aware.
What regulations or legal actions by
Congress or by administrative action do
you think would have the most consequence
or would be feared most by Facebook,
Instagram or Allied companies?
I strongly encourage
reforming Section 232 exempt.
Decisions about algorithms, right?
Modifying 230 around content I think,
has it’s it’s very complicated because
user generated content is something
that companies have less control over.
They have 100% control over their algorithms.
And Facebook should not get
a free pass on choices.
It makes to prioritize growth and virality
and reactiveness over public safety.
They shouldn’t get a free pass on
that because they’re paying for their
profits right now with our safety,
so I strongly encourage reform of 2:30.
In that way.
I also believe there needs to
be a dedicated oversight body,
because right now the only people
in the world who are trained
to analyze these experiments to
understand what’s happening inside
of Facebook are people who,
grew up inside of Facebook or Pinterest.
Or another social media company and
there needs to be a regulatory home where
someone like me could do a tour of duty.
After working at a place like this
and and have a place to work on
things like regulation to bring that
information out to the oversight
boards that that have the right
to do oversight Regulatory agency
within the federal government, yes.
Thank you very much. Thank you, chairman.
Senator Cantwell thank you Mr.
Chairman, thank you for holding this hearing.
And I think my colleagues have brought
up a lot of important issues and so I
think I just want to continue on that vein.
First of all,
the Privacy act that I introduced,
along with several of my
colleagues actually does have FTC
oversight of algorithm transparency.
In some instances, I’d hope you take
a look at that and tell us what other
areas you think we should add to that
level of transparency. But clearly,
that’s the the issue at hand here.
I think in your coming forward.
So thank you again for your
willingness to do that.
The documentation that you say
now we exist is the level of
transparency about what’s going on.
That people haven’t been able to see,
and so your information that you say
is going up to the highest levels at
Facebook is that they purposely knew
that their algorithms were continuing to
have misinformation and hate information.
And that, when presented with
information about this terminology,
you know downstream MSI meaningful social
information knowing that it was this choice.
You could continue this
wrong headed information.
Hate information about the
Rohingya or you could continue
to get higher clickthrough rates.
And I know you said you
don’t know about profits,
but I’m pretty sure you know that on a
page if you click through that next page,
I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more ad
revenue than if you didn’t click through.
So you’re saying the documents exist
that at the highest level at Facebook
you had information discussing
these two choices and that people
chose even though they knew that it
was misinformation and hurtful and
maybe even causing people lives,
they continued to choose profit.
We have submitted documents to
Congress outlining Mark Zuckerberg
was directly presented with a
list of quote soft interventions.
So a hard intervention is like taking
a piece of content on Facebook,
taking a user on Facebook so often
interventions are about making
slightly different choices to make
the platform less viral, less twitchy.
Mark was presented with these options
and chose to not remove downstream MSI.
In April of 2020,
even though he in even just isolated
in at risk countries,
that’s countries at risk of violence.
If it had any impact on the overall
So he chose which in translation
means less money.
He said right there another reason
why they would do it other than they
thought it would really affect their numbers.
I don’t don’t know for certain
like Jeff Jeff Horowitz.
Report for the Wall Street Journal.
I struggled with us.
We sat there and read these minutes.
And we’re like, how is this possible?
Like we’ve just read 100 pages
on how downstream MSI expands,
hate speech, misinformation,
violence, inciting content,
graphic violent content?
Why won’t you get rid of this?
And we we the best theory that we’ve
come up with and I want to emphasize
this is just our interpretation on it.
Is people’s bonuses are tide to MSI,
people stay or leave the company.
On what they get paid and like
if you hurt MSI a bunch people
weren’t going to get their bonuses,
so you’re saying that this practice
even still continues today
like we’re still in this environment.
I’m personally very frustrated by this
because we presented information to
Facebook from one of my own constituents
in 2018 talking about this issue with
Rohingya pleading with the company.
We pleaded with the company and they
continue to not address this issue.
Now you’re pointing out that these
same algorithms are being used,
and they know darn well in Ethiopia
that it’s causing an inciting violence.
And again they are still today choosing
profit over taking this information down.
Is that correct?
When rioting began in the United
States in the summer of last year,
they turned off downstream MSI only for when
they detected content was health content,
which is probably COVID and civic content.
But Facebook’s own algorithms
are bad at finding this content.
It’s still in the raw form.
For 1890% of even that sensitive content
in countries where they don’t have
integrity systems in the language,
and in the case of Ethiopia,
there are 100 million people
in Ethiopia and six languages,
Facebook only supports two of those
languages for integrity systems.
This strategy of focusing on language
specific content, specific systems,
AI to save us is doomed to fail.
I I need to get to one of the first of all,
I’m sending a letter to Facebook today.
They better not delete any information
as it relates to the Rohingya.
Are investigations about how
they proceeded on this,
particularly on in light of your
information or the documents?
But aren’t we also now talking
about advertising fraud?
Aren’t you selling something to advertisers?
That’s not really what they’re getting.
We know about this because of the newspaper.
Issues were trying to say that
journalism that basically has
to meet a different standard.
A public interest standard
that basically is out there.
Basically proving everyday or
they can be sued.
These guys are a social media
platform that doesn’t have to live
with that and then the consequences.
They’re telling their advertisers
that this was a we see it.
We see it people are coming back to the
local journalism because they’re like
we want to be against with a trusted brand.
We don’t want to be in,
you know your website.
So I I think you’re finding for the SEC.
Is an interesting one,
but I think that we also have to look
at what are the other issues here
and one of them is did you defraud?
Did they defraud advertisers
and telling them this was the
advertising content that you were
going to be advertised again,
when in reality was something different,
was based on a different model.
We have multiple examples of question
and answers for the advertising staff,
the sales staff where advertisers
say after the riots last summer
were asked should we come back to
Facebook or after the instruction?
Like should we come back to Facebook and
Facebook said in their talking points?
That they gave to advertisers.
We’re doing everything in
our power to make this safer
or we take down all the hate
speech when we find it.
But Facebook’s own.
And that was not true.
That was not true.
They get 3 to 5% of hate speech.
Thank you. Thank you Mr.
Thanks Senator cantwell.
And if you wanna make your letter
available to other members of the committee,
I’d be glad to join you
myself and thank you.
Thank you for suggesting it.
Senator Lee thank you. Mr.
Chairman and thank you,
Miss Hogan for joining us this week.
It’s very, very helpful or grateful that
you’re willing to make yourself available.
Last week we had another witness
from Facebook, Miss Davis.
She came and she testified before
this committee and she focused on,
among other things,
the extent to which Facebook
targets ads to children,
including ads that are either sexually
suggestive or geared toward adult
themed products or themes in general.
Now I didn’t, I I well I appreciated
her willingness to be here.
I didn’t get the clearest answers in
response to some of those questions,
and so I’m hoping that you can
help shed some light on some of
those issues related to Facebook’s
advertising processes here.
Today, as we get into this,
I want to first read you a quote that
I got from from Miss Davis last week.
Here’s what she said during
her questioning quote.
When we do ads to young people,
there are only three things that an
advertiser can target around age,
We also prohibit certain as to young people,
including weight loss ads.
We don’t allow tobacco ads at all,
meaning to young people.
We don’t allow them to children.
We don’t allow them to.
Minors close quote.
Now since that exchange happened last week,
there are a number of individuals and groups,
including a group called the
Technology Transparency Project,
or TDP that have indicated that that
part of her testimony was inaccurate,
that it was false.
TDP noted that TDP had conducted
Just last month and their,
their goal was to run a series of ads
that would be targeted to children
ages 13 to 17 to users in the United States.
Now I want to emphasize that PDP
didn’t end up running these ads.
They stopped them from being
distributed to the users,
but Facebook did in fact approved them,
and as I understand it,
Facebook approved them for an
audience of up to 9.1 million users,
all of whom were teens.
So I brought a few of these to show you.
Today this is.
This is the first one I wanted
to showcase this first one as
a colorful graphic.
Encouraging kids to quote throw
a Skittles party like no other.
Which you know, as the graphic indicates,
and as as the slang jargon also
independently suggests this involves.
Kids getting together.
Randomly to abuse prescription drugs.
The second graphic displays an Anna tip.
A tip specifically designed to
encourage and promote anorexia.
And it’s on there now.
the anti tip itself.
Independently promotes that the
ad also promotes it insofar as it
was suggesting these are images
you ought to look at when you need
motivation to be more anorexic,
I guess you could say.
Now the third one invites children to
find their partner online and to make
a love connection, you look lonely.
Find your partner now to make a
love connection. Now look at it.
Be an entirely different kettle of fish.
If this were targeted to an adult audience,
it is not targeted to 13 to 17 year olds.
Now obviously I don’t support and and
T DP does not support these messages,
particularly when targeted to
impressionable children and and again,
just to be clear,
TDP did not end up pushing the ads.
Out after receiving Facebook’s approval,
but it did in fact receive
So I think this says something one could
argue that it proves that Facebook is
allowing and and perhaps facilitating the
targeting of harmful adult themed ads.
To our nation’s children.
So could you please explain to
me Miss Hogan how these ads?
With a target audience.
Of 13 to 17 year old children.
How would they possibly be approved by
Facebook and it is AI involved in that?
I did not work directly on the
ad approval system.
Uhm, what was resonant for me
about your testimony is Facebook.
Has a deep focus on scale so scale
is can we do things very cheaply
for a huge number of people,
which is part of why they rely on AI so much.
It is very possible that none of
those ads were seen by a human and
the reality is that we’ve seen from
repeated documents within my disclosures.
Is that Facebook’s AI systems only
catch a very tiny minority of offending
content and best case scenario in the
case of something like hate speech,
at most they will ever get 10 to 20%.
In the case of children,
that means drug paraphernalia.
Ads like that and it’s likely if they
rely on computers and not humans.
They will also likely never get more
than 10 to 20% of those ads understood.
I’ve got one minor follow-up question
would should be easy to answer.
So while Facebook may may claim that
it only targets ads based on age,
gender and location, even though.
These things seem to counteract that,
but let’s set that aside for a minute.
And that they’re not basing ads based
on specific interest categories.
Does Facebook still collect interest
category data on teenagers even
if they aren’t at that moment?
Targeting ADS at teens based
on those interest categories,
I think it’s very important to
differentiate between what targeting our
advertisers allowed to specify and what
targeting Facebook may learn foreign add.
Let’s imagine you had some text on an ad.
It would likely extract out features.
That I thought was relevant for that ad.
in the case of something about partying,
it would learn partying as a concept.
I’m very suspicious that personalized
ads are still not being delivered
to teenagers on Instagram because
the algorithms learn correlations.
They learn interactions where your party
ad may still go to kids interested in
partying because Facebook is is almost
certainly has a ranking model in the
background that it says this person
wants more party related content.
Interesting, thank you,
that’s very helpful.
And what that suggests to me is that while
they’re they’re saying they’re not targeting.
Teens with those ads.
The algorithm might do some
of that work for them,
which might explain why they
collect that data,
even while claiming that they’re
not targeting those ads in that way.
I can’t speak to whether or
not that’s the intention,
but the reality is it’s very,
very very difficult to understand
these algorithms today and
over and over and over again.
We saw these biases,
the algorithms unintentionally learn,
and so yeah,
it it’s very hard to disentangle
out these factors as long as you
have engagement based ranking.
Thank you very much. Senator Lee.
Senator Markey but thank you.
Mr. Chairman very much.
Thank you, Miss Hogan you you
are a 21st century American hero
warning our country of the danger.
For young people.
Or on democracy and our nation owes you.
Just a huge debt of gratitude for the courage
you’re showing here today, so thank you.
Miss Hogan, do you agree that Facebook
actively seeks to attract children
and teens onto its platforms?
On Facebook, actively markets to children or
marketed to children under the age of 18.
To get on Instagram and definitely targets
children as young as eight to be on in
messenger kids and internal Facebook
documents from 2020 that you reveal reads.
Why do we care about twins?
They are valuable but untapped audience,
so Facebook only cares about
children to the extent that they are
a monetary value last week.
Facebook’s global head of safety,
Antigone Davis told me that
Facebook does not allow targeting
of certain harmful content to teens.
Miss Davis stated,
we don’t allow weight loss ads to be
shown to people under the age of 18,
yet a recent study found that Facebook
permitted targeting of teens as
young as 13 with pads that showed a
young woman’s thin waist promoting
websites that glorify anorexia.
Based on your time at Facebook,
do you think Facebook is telling the truth?
I think Facebook has focused on scale
over safety and it is likely that they
are using artificial intelligence to
try to identify harmful ads without
allowing the public oversight to see
what is the actual effectiveness
of those safety systems.
You unearthed Facebooks research about,
it’s hard to teams.
Did you raise this issue with
I did not work directly on anything
involving teen mental health this research.
Is freely available to anyone in the company.
Davis testified last week quote we
don’t allow tobacco ads at all.
We don’t allow them to children either.
We don’t allow alcohol ads to minors,
Researchers also found that Facebook does
allow targeting of teens with ads on vaping.
Miss Hogan, based on your time at Facebook,
do you think Facebook is telling the truth?
I do not have context on that that issue.
I assume that if they are using artificial
intelligence to catch those vape ads,
unquestionably adds or
making its way through.
So from my perspective,
listening to you and your
incredibly courageous revelations,
time and time again,
Facebook says one thing and does another.
Time and time again,
Facebook fails to abide by the
commitments that they had made.
Time and time again.
Facebook lies about what they
are doing yesterday.
Facebook had a platform outage,
but for years it has had a principals outage.
It’s only real principle is profit.
Facebook’s platforms are not safe
for young people.
As you said,
Facebook is like big tobacco
enticing young kids with that,
first cigarettes that first
social media account designed to
hook kids as users for life.
That’s how can you whistle blowing
shows that Facebook uses harmful
features that quantify popularity.
Push manipulative influencer marketing
amplify harmful content to teens.
And last week in this committee Facebook.
Wouldn’t even commit to not
using these features on 10
year olds. Facebook is built on
computer codes of misconduct.
Senator Blumenthal and I.
Have introduced the kids
Internet design and Safety Act.
The kids act.
You have asked us to act as a
committee and Facebook has scores
of lobbyists in the city right now.
Coming in right after this
hearing to tell us we can’t act.
And they’ve been successful for a decade
in blocking this committee from acting.
So let me ask you a question.
The kids Internet design and
Safety Act or the Kids act.
Here’s with the legislation.
Does and includes outright bans
on children’s app features
that one quantified popularity
with likes and follower counts.
That two promotes influencer marketing
and three that amplifies toxic posts
and that it would prohibit Facebook
from using its algorithms to promote.
Toxic post should we pass that legislation?
I strongly encourage reforms that push
us towards human scale social media
and not computer driven social media.
Those amplification harms are caused by
computers choosing what’s important to us,
not our friends and family,
and I encourage any system
that children are exposed to to
not use amplification systems.
So you agree that Congress has to
enact these special protections for
children and teens that stop social
media companies from manipulating young
users and threatening their well being.
To stop using its algorithm to harm kids,
you agree with that.
I I do believe Congress must act for
protect children and children and
teens also needed privacy online.
Bill of Rights I’m the author of
the Children’s Online Privacy
Protection Act of 1998,
but it’s only for kids under 13
because the industry stopped me from
making at age 16 and 1998 because it
was already their business model.
But we need to update that law
for the 21st century.
Tell me if this should pass one.
Create an online eraser button so
that young users can tell websites to
delete the data they have collected
about them to give young teens under
the age of 16 and their parents
control of their information and
three ban targeted ads to children.
I support all those actions,
thank you and and finally I’ve also
introduced the algorithmic justice
and online Platform Transparency
Act which would one open the hood
on Facebook and big text algorithms
so we know how Facebook is using our
data to decide what content we see
and to ban discriminatory algorithms.
That harm vulnerable populations
online like showing employment and
housing ads to white people but
not to black people in our country
should Congress pass that bill.
Algorithmic bias issues are a
major issue for our democracy.
During my time at Pinterest,
I became very aware of the challenges
of like I mentioned before,
it’s difficult for us to understand how
these algorithms actually act and perform.
Facebook is aware of complaints today
by people like African Americans
saying that reels doesn’t give African
Americans the same distribution
as white people and and until we
and our ability to confirm ourselves.
The Facebook marketing messages are true.
We will not have a system that
is compatible with democracy.
So I and I and I I thank Senator Lee.
I agree with you and your line of questions.
I wrote Facebook asking them to explain
that discrepancy because Facebook I think
is lying about tagging 13 to 15 year olds.
So here’s my message for Mark Zuckerberg.
Your time of invading our privacy,
promoting toxic content
and praying on children.
In teens is over.
Congress will be taking action.
You can work with us or not work with us,
but we will not allow your company
to harm our children and our families
and our democracy any longer.
Thank you. Mr Hogan we will act.
Thanks, Senator Markey,
we’re going to turn to Senator Blackburn
and then. We will take a break.
I know that.
There is some interest in another
round of questions maybe.
Maybe we’ll turn to Senator Lujan
for his questions before crews
and Scott and we have others,
so we’ll come back after the Mr.
I have to go to sit in the chair
starting at noon today we turn.
I do. I have one question.
This relates to white.
Mr Markey was asking does Facebook
ever employed child psychologist
or mental health professionals
to deal with these children?
Online issues that we’re discussing
Facebook has many researchers with
pH D’s I assume some of them are I.
I know that some have psychology degrees.
I’m not sure if they are child specialists.
Facebook also works with external
agencies that are specialists
at children’s rights online.
Senator Lujan and then,
at the conclusion of Senator
we’ll take a break.
We’ll come back.
At noon thank you, Mr.
Chairman and I appreciate the
indulgence of the committee.
Miss Hogan. Last week,
the committee heard directly from Miss Davis,
the global head of safety for Facebook.
During the hearing,
the company contested their own.
Internal research as if it does not exist.
Yes or no.
Does Facebook have internal research
indicating that Instagram harms teens,
particularly harming perceptions of
body image which disproportionately
affects young women?
Yes, Facebook has extensive research on
the impacts of its products on teenagers,
including young women.
Thank you for confirming these reports.
Last week I requested Facebook
make the basis of this research.
The data set minus any personally
available to this committee.
Do you believe it is important for
transparency and safety that Facebook
release the basis of this internal research?
The core data set to allow
for independent analysis.
I believe it is vitally important
for our democracy that we establish
mechanisms where Facebook’s internal
research must be disclosed to the
public on a regular basis and that we
need to have privacy sensitive data
sets that allow independent researchers
to confirm whether or not Facebook’s
marketing messages are actually true.
Beyond this particular research
at Facebook make its internal
primary research not just secondary
slide decks of Cherry pick data,
but the underlying data public by default.
Can this be done?
In a way that respects user privacy,
I believe in collaboration with
academics and other researchers that
we can develop privacy conscious
ways of exposing radically more
data that is available today.
It is important for our ability to
understand how algorithms work,
how Facebook shapes the information
we get to see that we have these data
sets be publicly available for scrutiny.
Is Facebook capable of making the
right decision here on its own,
or is regulation needed to create
real transparency at Facebook until
incentives change at Facebook,
we should not expect Facebook to change.
We need action from Congress.
Last week I asked Miss Davis about
shadow profiles for children on
the site and she answered that no
data is ever collected on children
under 13 because they are not
allowed to make accounts.
This tactfully ignores the issue.
who knows children use their platform.
instead of seeing this as
a problem to be solved,
Facebook views this as
a business opportunity.
Yes or no.
Does Facebook conduct research
on children under 13 examining
the business opportunities?
Of connecting these young
children to Facebook’s products,
I want to emphasize how vital it
is that Facebook shaft to publish
the mechanisms by which it tries
to detect these children because
they are on the platform in far
greater numbers than anyone is aware.
I do believe that or I am aware
that Facebook is doing research on
children under the age of 13 and they have.
Those studies are included in my disclosure.
You have shared your concerns about
how senior management Facebook has
continuously prioritized revenue
over potential user Harman safety.
And I have a few questions on
Facebook’s decision making.
Last week I asked Miss Davies quote.
Has Facebook ever found a
change to its platform?
Would potentially inflict harm on users,
but Facebook moved forward because the change
would also grow users or increase revenue.
Miss Davis said in response quote.
It’s not been my experience
at all at Facebook.
That’s just not how we would approach it.
Yes or no? Has Facebook ever found a feature?
On its platform harmed its users,
but the feature moved forward because it
would also grow users or increase revenue.
Facebook likes to paint that these
issues are really complicated.
There are lots of simple issues,
requiring someone to click through
on a link before you re share it.
That’s not a large imposition,
but it does decrease growth
that tiny little amount,
because in some countries re shares
make up 35% of all the content
that people see Facebook prioritize
that content on the system,
the reachers over the impacts to
misinformation, hate speech or violence,
Did these decisions ever come
from Mark Zuckerberg directly or
from other senior management?
We have a few choice documents that contain
notes from briefings with Mark Zuckerberg,
where he chose metrics defined by
Facebook like meaningful social
interactions over changes that would
have significantly decreased misinformation,
and other inciting content.
And this is the reference you shared
earlier to Miss Cantwell April of 2020.
Facebook appears to be able to count on
the silence of its workforce for a long time,
even as it knowingly continued
practices and policies that
continue to cause and amplify harm.
Facebook content moderators have
called out quote a culture of fear
and secrecy within the company that
prevented them from speaking out.
Is there a culture of fear at
Facebook around whistle blowing
and external accountability?
Facebook has a culture that that that
emphasizes that that insularity is
the path forward that if information
is shared with the public,
it will just be misunderstood.
And I believe that relationship
has to change.
The only way that we will solve
these problems is by solving them
together and we’ll have much better,
more democratic solutions if we do
it collaboratively than in isolation.
And my final question,
is there a senior level executive
like an Inspector General who’s
responsible for ensuring complaints
from Facebook employees are taken
seriously and that employees legal,
and moral concerns received consideration
with the real possibility of
instigating change to company policies.
I’m I’m not aware of that role,
but the company is large and amazing.
I appreciate that.
It’s my understanding that there is a
gentleman of by the name of Roy Austin,
who is the Vice President of Civil Rights,
who’s described himself as
an Inspector General,
but he does not have the authority to
make these internal conflicts public.
The Oversight Board was created
by Facebook to review moderation
policies related to public content.
Specifically, it was not created to
allow employees to raise concerns,
so again, another area of interest.
I believe that we have to act on.
I thank you. For coming forward today.
My pleasure. Happy to serve.
The committee is in recess.
Welcome back, Miss Hogan.
Thank you for your patience.
We’re going to reconvene and
we’ll go to Senator Hickenlooper.
Thank you Mr. Chair thank you,
Miss Hogan, for for your direct answers
and for being willing to come out and,
you know, provide such clarity
on so many of these issues.
Obviously Facebook can manipulate
its algorithms to attract users.
And I guess. My question would be,
do you feel, in your humble opinion,
that you know simply maximizing profits,
no matter the societal impact that is
justified, and I think the question
then would be that that’s the short
question which I think I know the answer.
What impact Facebook’s bottom line
would it have if the algorithm was
changed to promote safety? And two.
Instead of to change to two.
To save the lives of young women
rather than putting them at risk.
Learn about the talk button.
Has a profit is makes approximately
$40 billion a year in profit.
A lot of the changes that I’m talking
about are are not going to make
Facebook an unprofitable company.
It just won’t be a ludicrously
profitable company like it is today.
Engagement based ranking which causes
those amplification problems that
leads young women from you know,
innocuous topics like healthy recipes
to anorexia content if it were removed,
Facebook people would consume
less content on Facebook.
But Facebook would still be profitable,
and so I I encourage oversight and public
scrutiny into how these algorithms work,
and the consequences of them.
And I appreciate that I I’m a
former small business owner I.
Started Brew Pub back in 1988.
And really was always we worked
very hard to to look.
we weren’t doing investigations,
but we were very sensitive to whether
someone had too much to drink,
whether we had a frequent customer
who was frequently putting
himself at risk and and others.
I think that the Facebook
business model puts.
Well posted risk to to youth and to
enter teens you cared compared to
cigarette companies, which I thought was.
If this I guess the question is,
is this level of risk appropriate
or is there a level of risk
that would be appropriate?
I think there is an opportunity to
reframe some of these oversight actions.
So when we think of them as
these trade offs of like it’s
either profitability or safety.
I think that’s a false choice
and then reality.
The thing I’m asking for is
a move from short term ISM,
which is what Facebook is run under today.
Is being led by metrics and not led by
people and that with appropriate oversight,
and some of these constraints,
it’s possible that Facebook is
actually a much more profitable
company five or ten years down the
road because it wasn’t as toxic.
Not as many people quit it,
but that’s one of those counterfactuals
that we can’t actually test,
so regulation might actually make Facebook
more profitable over the long term.
That’s often the case.
I think the same could be said for
automobiles and go down the list
of all those things that there’s
so much pushback in the beginning.
I also thought that the.
The question of of how do we assess
the impact to their bottom line?
We had a represented Facebook in
here recently who talked about that
eight out of 10 Facebook users feel
their life is better and that their
job is to get to 10 out of 10.
Maybe this is the two to 20%
that they’re missing.
I don’t know how large that the
demographic is of of people that are
caught back up into this circulus,
circuitous you know?
Sense of of really taking them
down into a the wrong direction?
How many people?
That is do you have any idea?
That that quote last week was
really shocking to me because I
don’t know if you’re aware of this,
but in the case of cigarettes only,
about 10% of people who smoke
ever get lung cancer, right?
So the idea that you 20% of your users could
be facing a serious mental health issues,
and that’s not a problem is shocking.
I also want to emphasize for people that
that eating disorders are serious, right?
There are going to be women walking
around this planet in 60 years with
brittle bones because of choices that fit
that Facebook made around emphasizing
profit today or there gonna be women.
Weather in 20 years who want to have
babies who can’t because they’re infertile.
As a result of eating disorders.
Today, they’re serious,
and I think there’s an opportunity
here for having public oversight
and public involvement,
especially in matters that impact children.
Thank you for being so direct on
this and for stepping forward.
I yield back to Florida chair.
Thanks Senator Hickenlooper.
Senator Cruz. Thank you, Mr.
Chairman, Miss Hogan welcome thank.
Thank you for your testimony.
Uh, when it concerns Facebook?
There are a number of concerns that this
committee and Congress has been focused on.
Two of the biggest had been Facebook’s
intentional targeting of kids with
content that is harmful to the children.
And then, secondly, in a discrete issue,
is the pattern of Facebook and social
media engaging in political censorship?
I want to start with the first
issue targeting kids.
As you’re aware,
it is indeed the documents that
you provided indicated.
Facebook’s quarter the
public reporting on it.
Facebook’s internal reports
found that Instagram makes
quote body image issues worse.
For one in three teen girls,
it showed that quote 13% of British users
and 6% of American users traced their
desire to kill themselves to Instagram.
Uh, is that a fair and accurate
characterization of what
Facebook’s research concluded?
I only know what I read in the documents
that were included in my disclosure,
that is, that is an accurate description
of the ones that I have read.
I because Facebook is not coming for with
the total corpus of their known research.
I don’t know what their other things say.
there is documents to say those things,
so we had testimony last week in the
Senate with a witness from Facebook who
claimed that that that information.
Accurate and needed to be in context.
Now, of course she wasn’t
willing to provide the context.
The alleged mysterious context.
Do you know of any context that would
make those data anything other than
horrifying and deeply disturbing?
engagement based ranking and
these processes of amplification.
They impact all users of Facebook.
The algorithms are very smart in the
sense that they latch onto things that
people want to continue to engage with.
And unfortunately in the case of
teen girls and things like self harm,
they develop these feedback cycles
where children are using Instagram
is to self soothe but then are
exposed to more and more content
that makes them hate themselves.
This is a thing where we can’t
say 80% of kids are OK.
We need to say how do we save all the kids?
The Wall Street Journal reported
that Mark Zuckerberg was personally
aware of this research.
Do you have any information one way
or the other as to Mr Zuckerberg’s
awareness of the research,
we have a,
she’s mean one of the documents
included in the disclosures.
It details something called Project Daisy,
which is an initiative to remove
likes off of Instagram.
The internal research showed they
were moving likes off Instagram
is not effective as long as you
leave comments on those posts.
And yet the research directly
presented to mark.
Zuckerberg said we should still
pursue this as a feature to launch
even though it’s not effective
because the government,
journalists and academics want us
to do this like it would get us
positive points with the public.
That that kind of duplicity is why we
need to have more transparency and why.
If we want to have a system that
is coherent with democracy,
we must have public oversight from Congress.
Do you know if Facebook,
any of the research it conducted,
attempted to quantify how many
teenage girls may have taken their
lives because of Facebook’s products?
I am not aware of that research.
Do you know if Facebook made
any changes when they got back?
That 13% of British users and 6%
of American users traced their
desire to kill themselves to
Instagram? Do you know if they made any
changes in response to that research
to try to correct or mitigate that?
I found it very surprising that
when Antonio Davis was confronted
with this research last week,
she couldn’t enumerate a five point plan.
A 10 point plan of the
actions that they took.
I also find it shocking that one
once Facebook had this research,
it didn’t disclose it to the public.
Because this is the kind of thing that
should have oversight from Congress.
So when you were at Facebook,
where their discussions
about how to respond to this,
this research I did not work directly
on issues concerning children.
These are just documents that were
freely available in the company,
so I’m not aware of that.
Do you have thoughts as to what
kind of changes Facebook could
make to reduce or eliminate these
harms you mentioned earlier?
Concerns around free speech?
A lot of the things that I
advocate for our around changing
the mechanisms of amplification,
not around picking winners and
losers in the marketplace of ideas.
So like I mentioned before, you know,
like how on Twitter if you have to
click on a link before you re share it.
Small actions like that friction.
Don’t require picking
good ideas and bad ideas.
They just make the platform less twitchy,
and Facebook’s internal research
says that each one of those small
actions dramatically reduces misinformation,
hate speech and violence,
inciting content on the platform.
So, and we’re we’re running out of time,
but but on the second major
topic of concern of Facebook,
which is censorship based on
what you’ve seen or you are you
concerned about political censorship
at at Facebook and in big Tech?
I believe you cannot have a system that.
Camp Odd has as big an impact on
society as Facebook does today,
with as little transparency as it does.
I I’m a strong proponent of chronological
ranking or ordering by time,
with a little bit of spammed
emotion because I think.
We don’t want computers deciding
what we focus on.
We should have software that is human
scaled or humans have conversations together,
Facilitating who we get to hear from.
So how could we get more transparency?
What would produce that?
I strongly encourage the development
of some kind of regulatory body
that could work with academics,
work with researchers,
or with other government agencies
to synthesize requests for data
that are privacy conscious.
This is an area that I’m
really passionate about.
And because right now no one can
force Facebook to disclose data and
Facebook has been stonewalling us.
Or even worse,
they gave inaccurate data
to researchers as they were.
The scandal recently showed what
data should they turn over and
my time is expired so.
even data as simple as what
integrity systems exist today and
how well do they perform like there
are lots and lots of people who
Facebook is conveying around the
world that that Facebook safety
systems apply to their language,
and those people aren’t aware that
they’re using a raw, original,
dangerous version of Facebook.
Just basic actions like transparency
would make a huge difference.
Thanks, Sandra Cruz,
senator Loomis. Thank you Mr.
Chairman and thank you for your testimony.
If you were in my seat
today instead of your seat,
what documents or unanswered questions
would you seek from Facebook,
especially as it relates to children?
But even generally speaking?
I think any research regarding what
Facebook does problematic use,
IE the addictiveness of the product
is of vital importance and anything
around what Facebook knows about parents
lack of knowledge about the platform.
I only know about the documents
that I have seen, right?
I do not work on teens or
child safety myself,
but in the documents that I read,
Facebook articulates the idea that
parents today are not aware of how
dangerous Instagram is and they
because they themselves do not
live through these experiences.
They can’t coach their kids on
basic safety things and so at a
minimum Facebook shaft to disclose
what it knows in that context.
OK, so we’re trying to protect individuals.
Data that they’re gathering
have data privacy,
but have transparency in the manner in which.
The data is used.
Can we bridge that gap?
Imagine I think we reasonable people
can have a conversation on how many
people need to see a piece of content
before it’s not really private.
Like if 100,000 people see something,
is it private?
If 25,000 people see it, is it private?
Just disclosing the most
popular content on the platform,
including statistics around what
factors went into the promotion of that
content would cause radically more
transparency than we have today on
how Facebook chooses what we get to focus on,
how they shape our reality.
if if our focus is protecting the
First Amendment and our rights
to free speech while.
Very carefully regulating.
I’ve heard there there are a number of
things that are being discussed in Congress.
Everything from antitrust laws
to calling Facebook a utility to
the idea that you just raised of
a regulatory board of some sort
that has authority to.
Through understanding of the
algorithms and how they’re used,
and other mechanisms that create what we see
the the the face of Facebook, so to speak.
How to tell me a little more about
how you envision that board working?
What is the in your mind?
Based on your understanding
of the company and the ill?
What is the best approach to bridging
the gap between keeping speech free?
And protecting individual
privacy with regard to data.
So I think those issues are
their independent issues,
so we can talk about free speech first,
which is having more transparency
like Facebook has solutions today
that are not content based and I am
a strong advocate for non content
based solutions because those
solutions will also then protect
the most vulnerable people in the
world in a place like Ethiopia
where they speak six languages.
If you have something that focuses
on good ideas and bad ideas,
those systems don’t work in diverse places.
So investing in non content based
ways to slow the platform down not
only protects our freedom of speech,
it protects people’s lives.
The second question is around privacy
and this question of how can we
have oversight and have privacy?
There is lots and lots of research
on how to abstract data sets so
you’re not showing people’s names.
You might not even be showing
the content of their post.
You might be showing data that
is about the content of their
post but not the post itself.
There are many ways to structure these
data sets that are privacy conscious.
And the fact that Facebook has
walled off the ability to see
even basic things about how the
platform performs or in the case
of their past academic research,
releasing inaccurate data.
Or not being clear about how they pull
that data is just part of a pattern
of behavior of Facebook hiding behind
walls and operating in the shadows,
and they have far too much power
in our society to be allowed to
continue to operate that way.
I I had heard you make the analogy
earlier to the tobacco industry and I
think that that’s an appropriate analogy.
I I really believe we’re searching for.
The best way to address the problem,
and I’m I.
I’m not sure that it is the heavy
hands like breaking up companies
or calling them a utility.
Which is why your approach of integrating
people who understand the math and the
uses of the math with protecting privacy.
Is intriguing to me, so the more
information that you can provide to us.
About how that might work to
actually address the problem,
I I think would be helpful.
So in my case this is an invitation to you
to provide to my office or the committee.
Information about how we can get at
the root of the problem that you’ve
identified and can document. And.
Save peoples privacy.
So I extend that invitation to you
and I thank you for your testimony.
Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Thanks Senator Lummis Senator Sullivan.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and.
I want to thank our witness here.
It’s been a good hearing,
a lot of information has been learned.
Particularly on the issue of how
this is impacting our kids, I think.
We’re going to look back.
20 years from now. And.
All of us are going to be like
what in the hell were we thinking
when we recognize the damage
that it’s done to a generation?
Kids, do you agree with that?
Let’s see you again.
When Facebook made statement has made
statements in the past about how
much benefit Instagram is providing
to kids mental health like kids are
connecting who were once alone.
Well, I’m so surprised about that is if
if Instagram is such a positive force,
what have we have?
We seen a golden age of teenage
mental health in the last ten years.
No, we’ve seen escalating opposite.
We’ve seen escalating rates of suicide
and depression amongst teenagers.
Or at least in part driven by
the social media phenomenon,
there is a broad swath of research that
supports the idea that usage of social media.
Implies the risk for these
mental health harms right now.
In this hearing is helping illuminated,
we are seeing Facebook’s own
research shows up right say that
again that support and Facebook’s
own research shows that.
the kids are saying kids are
saying I am unhappy when I use
Instagram and I can’t stop,
but if I leave I’m afraid I’ll be ostracized.
And that’s that’s so sad.
So they know that that’s
what their research shows.
So what do you think drives them to?
I had this discussion with the
witness last week and I said, well.
I think they called it their
time out or stop, I said,
but isn’t that incompatible
with your business model?
Because your business model
is more time online.
More eyeballs online.
Isn’t that the fundamental
elements of their business model?
Facebook has had both an interesting
opportunity and a hard challenge
from being a closed system,
so they have had the opportunity
to hide their problems.
And like often people do when
they can hide their problems.
They get in over their heads and I
think Facebook needs an opportunity
to have Congress step in and say,
guess what you don’t have to
struggle by yourself anymore.
You don’t have to hide these things from us.
You don’t pretend they’re not problems.
You can declare moral bankruptcy and we
can figure out how to fix these things
together because we solve problems together.
We don’t solve them alone.
And by moral bankruptcy.
One of the things that I appreciate the.
Phrase that the chairman and you’ve
been using is one of those elements.
they know this is a problem.
They know it’s actually impacting
negatively the mental health of the
most precious assets we have in America,
our youth, our kids.
I have three daughters.
They know that that is happening
in yet the moral bankruptcy from
your perspective is the continued.
The continuation of this,
simply because that’s how they make money.
I I phrase it slightly differently,
we have financial bankruptcy
because we value people’s lives
more than we value money, right?
The people get in over their heads
and they need a process where they
admit they did something wrong.
But we have a mechanism where
we forgive them and we we have
a way for them to move forward.
Facebook is stuck in a feedback
loop that they cannot get out of.
They have been hiding this information
because they feel trapped, right?
Like they would have come forward if
they had solutions to these things.
They need to admit they did
something wrong and they need help
to solve these problems.
And that’s what moral bankruptcy is.
Let me ask,
I’m going to switch gears
here and in this is.
What’s your current position
right now in terms of its
disinformation and counterespionage?
I my last role at Facebook was in
counter espionage or your last role.
So one of the things this is a very different
topic and only got a minute or so left,
but right now is Facebook.
I know Facebook is not allowed
in countries like China,
but do they provide platforms?
For authoritarian or terrorists base
leaders like the ayatollahs in Iran,
that’s the largest state sponsored
terrorism in the world or the
Taliban or Xi Jinping are certain.
My view, our biggest rival for this century.
A Communist Party dictator who’s
trying to export his authoritarian
model around the world.
Do they provide a platform for those?
Leaders who, in my view,
clearly don’t hold America’s
interests in mind.
This Facebook provided that I I
during my time working with the
threat intelligence org so as a
product manager supporting the threat,
the counter espionage team.
My team directly worked on a tracking
Chinese participation on the platform
surveilling say Uighur populations
in places around the world that you
could actually find the Chinese based
on them doing these kinds of things.
we also saw active participation
of the Iran government doing
espionage on other state actors,
so this is definitely a
thing that is happening.
And I believe Facebook consistent
understaffing of the counter espionage.
operations and counterterrorism
teams is a national security
issue and I’m speaking to other
parts of Congress about that.
So you are saying, in essence,
that the the platform,
whether Facebook knows it or not,
is being utilized by some of our
adversaries in a way that helps push
and promote their interests at the
expense of America’s very aware that
this is happening on the platform.
And I believe the fact that Congress
doesn’t get a report of exactly how
many people are working on these
things internally is is unacceptable
because you have a right to keep.
American people safe.
Great, thank you very much.
Thanks center Salvin.
You may have just opened.
An area for another hearing.
I’ve I’ve I’ve strong national security
concerns about how Facebook operates today.
Maybe we should write.
I mean, it’s, uh,
I’m not being at all facetious.
Thank you for your questions on this topic,
and I know you have a busy schedule,
but we may want to.
Discuss this issue with you
members of our committee,
at least informally,
and if you’d be willing to
come back for another hearing.
That certainly is within
the realm of possibility.
I haven’t consulted the ranking member,
but or the chair.
Thank you for your honesty
and your candor on that topic.
thank you chairman First off,
thanks for coming forward and thanks
for coming forward in a manner that you
want to have a have positive change.
So it’s not always what happens early.
Earlier this year I sent letter to Facebook
and other social media platforms asking
them to detail the harmful impacts.
Could effects our mental health their
platforms have on children and teens.
So your reports revealed that Facebook
has been clued fully aware of this
for awhile and the harmful impacts,
especially on young women,
so I think we all agree that’s
completely unacceptable and we’ve got
to figure out how we protect the people
that are vulnerable in this country
from the harmful impacts of Facebook
and other social media platforms.
So First off, do you think there should be?
Greater consideration for age when
it comes to using any social media.
I strongly encourage raising age
limits to 16 or 18 years old based on
looking at the data around problematic
use or addiction on the platform and
children’s self regulation issues.
So, so I think you addressed this
a little bit,
but why do you think Facebook didn’t
address this publicly when they they
figured it out internally that they
were having an adverse impact on young
young people, especially young women?
Why didn’t they come forward and
say I’ve got it?
We’ve got a problem.
We gotta figure this out.
I have a huge amount of empathy
for for Facebook.
These are really,
really hard questions and part of why
I’m saying I think I think they feel
a little a little trapped and isolated
is the problems that are driving
negative social comparison on Instagram?
Facebook’s own research says Instagram
is actually distinctly worse than
say tick Tock or Snapchat or Reddit
because Instagram tick tock is about
doing fun things with your friends.
Snapchat is about faces and
Reddit is vaguely about ideas,
but Instagram is about bodies
and about comparing lifestyles.
And so I think there are real questions
where like Instagram would have to come
in and think hard about their product.
Or about like what is their product about.
And I think I don’t think those
answers are immediately obvious.
But that’s why I believe we need to
solve problems together and not alone.
Because collaborating with the
public will give us better solutions.
So do you think Facebook was trying
to try and mitigate the problem?
I think within the set of incentives
that they were working within,
they did the best they could.
Unfortunately, those incentives
are not sustainable and they are
not acceptable in our society.
Do you think Facebook and other social
media platforms ought to be able to
be required to report any harmful
effects they have on young people?
One of the things that I found very
interesting after the report in the
Wall Street Journal on Teen Mental
Health was that a former executive
at the company said Facebook needs
to be able to have private research
and the part that I was offended by
this was Facebook has had some of
this research on the negative effects
of Instagram on teenagers for years.
I strongly support the idea that Facebook
should have a year maybe 18 months,
to have private research,
but given that they are the only people
in the world who can do this kind of
research that the public never gets to do it?
They shouldn’t be allowed to keep secrets
when people’s lives are on the line.
So because because to be clear,
if they make $40 billion a year,
they have the resources
to solve these problems,
they’re choosing not to solve them.
Yeah, did that surprise you?
They wouldn’t put more effort into this.
No, you know it’s going to catch
up with him eventually, right?
Yeah, like I mentioned earlier,
to write coming in and having
oversight might actually make
Facebook a more profitable company
five or ten years from now,
Facebook’s own research shows they have
something called an integrity holdout.
These are people who don’t get
protections from integrity systems to
see what happens to them and those
people who deal with a more toxic,
painful version of Facebook.
Use Facebook less,
and so one could could could reason a kinder,
more collaborative Facebook might actually
have more users five years from now,
so it’s in everyone’s interest.
Do you think I’ve got a bill
and there’s a lot of bills that
I think we’ve all talked about,
but mine is called the Data Act.
It’s going to require express consent
from users for large platforms
to use algorithms on somebody.
You agree with that.
shouldn’t we consent before they
get to take our everything about
us and go sell it?
thanks to us for for selling
personal data that that is an issue.
I believe people have chef
substantially more control over.
Most people are not well informed
on what the cost, the cost,
personal costs of having their data sold are,
and so I worry about pushing that
choice back on individual consumers
in terms of should people consent
to working with algorithms.
I worry that if Facebook is allowed
to give users the choice of do you
want an engagement based news feed
or do you want a chronological
newsfeed like ordered by time,
maybe a little spammed emotion that
people will choose the more addictive
option that engagement based ranking
even if it is leading their their
their daughters to eating disorders.
Right, thank you.
Thanks Senator Scott.
I think we have concluded the first round.
Unless we’re missing someone who is.
On line. And not hearing anyone.
Let’s go to the second round.
Thank you again for your patience.
I know you have a hard stop.
I think at 1:30 so will be respectful
of that limitation and I’ll
begin by asking a few questions.
First, let me say.
Senator Klobuchar very aptly.
Raised with you the principle
obstacle to our achieving legislative
reform in the past,
which is the tons of money spent
on lobbyists and other. Kinds of.
Use a pejorative word that is so
evident here in the United States Congress.
Some of its dark money,
some of it is very overt.
But I guess the point I’d like to
make to you personally is that
you’re being here.
Really sends a profound message to.
that one person can really make a difference.
One person standing up speaking out.
And overcome a lot of
those obstacles for us,
and you have crystallized.
In a way our. Consciousness
here you have been a catalyst,
I think for change in a way that
we haven’t seen and I’ve been
working on these issues for.
1015 years and you have raised awareness
in a way that I think is very unique.
So thank you not only for your
risk taking and your courage
and strength and standing up,
but also for the effect that it has had.
And I also want to make another point and
you can tell me whether I’m correct or not.
I think there are other
whistleblowers out there.
I think there are other truth tellers.
In the tech world.
Want to come forward and I think you are.
Leading by example. I think you are
showing them that there is a path.
To make this industry more responsible.
And. More caring about kids.
And about the nature of our public
discourse generally are about the strength
of our democracy, and I think you.
Have given them boost those whistleblowers
out there and potentially coming forward.
I think that’s tremendously
important I think also.
And again, you can tell me if I’m wrong.
There are a lot of people on
Facebook who are cheering for you.
There are public reports
and I know of some of my.
Friends in this world who tell me that.
There are people working for
Facebook who wish they had.
The opportunity and the courage to come
forward as you have done because they feel.
A lot of reservations about the way
that Facebook has used the platform,
used algorithms used content
and pushed it on.
Kids in this way. So those are.
Sort of hypothesis.
That I hope you can confirm.
And I also would like to ask you.
’cause a lot of parents
are watching right now.
So you’ve advised us on what you
think we should do the reforms.
Some of them that you think we
should adopt stronger oversight.
Authorized by Congress.
Better disclosure because right now.
Facebook essentially is a black box.
Yes, for most of America,
Facebook is a black box.
That’s designed by Mark Zuckerberg,
Mark Zuckerberg and his immediate coterie.
And the buck stops with him.
And reform of Section 203.
So there’s some legal responsibility.
So people have a day in court,
some kind of recourse.
Legally, when they’re harmed by Facebook
because right now it has this broad immunity,
most of America has no idea.
Essentially, you can’t sue Facebook.
You have no recourse.
Most America doesn’t know about section 230.
And if you.
Pushed a lot of members of Congress,
they wouldn’t know either.
It’s actually slightly worse than that.
They Facebook made a statement in a
legal proceeding recently where they
said they had the right to mislead
the court because they had immunity.
Right that 2:30 give them immunity,
so why should they have to tell the
truth about what they’re showing?
Which is kind of shocking?
Well, it is shocking to a lawyer.
Of us are it’s also uttered.
Disregarding contempt for the rule of law,
and for the very legal
structure that gives them.
That kind of protection,
so it’s kind of a new low.
In corporate conduct,
at least in court.
So you’ve you’ve provided us with some of
the reforms that you think are important,
and I think that the oversight goes a long
way because it in turn would make public a
lot of what is going on in this black box.
But for now. Since a lot of teens and
tweens will be going home tonight,
as you’ve said. To endure the bullying.
The eating disorders.
The invitations to.
Feel insecure about themselves.
Heightened anxiety they have to live
with the real world as it exists right
now and they will be haunted for
their lifetimes by these experiences.
What would you tell parents right now?
What would you advise them?
About what they can do because they
need more tools and some of the
proposals that have been mentioned
here would give parents more tools
to protect their children.
Right now, a lot of parents tell me.
They feel powerless.
They need more information their way behind
their kids and their adeptness online.
And they feel that they need
to be empowered in some way to
protect their kids in the real
world right now in real time.
So I offer you that open-ended
Talk to us a little bit about your thoughts.
Very rarely do you have one of
these generational shifts where the
generation that leads like parents who
who who who guide their children have
such a different set of experiences
that they don’t have the context to
support their children in a Safeway.
There is an active need for schools
or or maybe the National Institutes
of Health to to make established
information where if parents want to
learn on how they can support their kids.
It should be easy for them to know what
is constructive and non constructive
because Facebook’s own research
says kids today feel like they are
struggling alone with all these
issues because their parents can’t
guide them and one of the things I’m
I’m sad is when I look on Twitter
is when people blame the parents
for these problems with Facebook.
They say just take your kids phone away.
And the reality is,
those issues are long and so we need
to support parents because right now
if Facebook won’t protect the kids,
we at least need to help the
parents to protect the kids.
If A at parents are anguished,
they are about this issue, parents or hardly.
they need the tools they need to
be empowered. And I think that the.
The major encouragement for reforms is
going to come from those parents and.
You have pointed out,
I think in general,
but I’d like you to just confirm for me.
This research and the documents
containing that research.
Is not only findings and conclusions also.
Recommendations for changes.
What I hear you saying is that, again,
and again and again these recommendations
were just rejected or disregarded, correct?
There is a pattern of behavior that I
saw at Facebook, a Facebook choosing
to prioritize its profits over people.
And anytime the Facebook faced even tiny
hits to growth like .1% of Sessions,
1% of of views that it shows its profits
over safety and you mentioned I think
bonuses tide to downstream MSI’s decor.
Explain what you meant,
so MSI is meaningful social interaction.
Facebook’s internal governance is
very much based around metrics,
so Facebook is incredibly flat to
the point where they have the largest
open floorplan office in the world.
It’s a quarter of a mile long in one room,
They believe in flat.
And instead of having internal governance,
they have metrics that people try
to move in a world like that,
it doesn’t matter that we now
have multiple years of data.
Saying MSI may be encouraging bad content
might be making spaces where people
are are scared where they are shown
information that puts them at risk.
It’s so hard to dislodge a ruler like that,
that a yardstick.
That you end up in this situation
where because no one is taking
leadership like no one is intentionally
designing these systems.
It’s just many,
many people running in parallel,
all moving the metric that these problems
get amplified and amplified and amplified,
and no one steps into to bring the solutions.
And I just want to finish and then I
think we’ve been joined by Senator Young.
And then we’ll go to Senator
Blackburn and Senator Klobuchar.
You know I spent a number of years
as an attorney general, helping to
lead litigation against Big Tobacco.
And. I came to hear from a lot of.
Smokers, how grateful they were.
Ironically and unexpectedly that someone
was fighting big tobacco because they
felt they had been victimized as children.
They started smoking when they were 7/8.
12 years old because Big
Tobacco was hooking them.
And as we develop the research very
methodically and purposefully.
Addicting man. At that early age,
when they. Believed.
That they would make themselves more popular.
That they would be cool and hip if they.
Began smoking and then nicotine.
Hooked them now, physiologically, nicotine.
Has addictive properties.
What is it about Facebook’s tactics?
Of hooking young people. That makes it
similar to what big Tobacco has done.
Facebook’s own research about Instagram.
Contains quotes from kids saying.
I feel bad when I use Instagram,
but I also feel like I can’t stop right.
I I know that the more time I spend on this,
the worse I feel.
But like I just can’t like
that they want the next click.
They want the next like they
they the the the dopamine.
You know the little hits all the time and.
I I feel a lot of pain for those kids, right?
Like they they they say they
fear being ostracized if they
step away from the platform.
So imagine you’re in this situation in
this relationship where every time you
open the app it makes you feel worse.
But you also fear isolation.
If you don’t,
I think there’s a huge opportunity here to
make social media that makes kids feel good,
not feel bad and that we have an
obligation to our youth to make
sure that they’re safe online.
Jenn. Thank you for your
In that testimony, you discuss how Facebook
generates self harm and and self hate,
especially among vulnerable
groups like teenage girls.
I happen to be a father of four kids,
three daughters, two of whom are teenagers,
and as you as you just alluded to,
most adults, myself included.
I’ve never been a teenager during
the age of Facebook, Instagram and
these other social media platforms.
And therefore I think it can be really
hard for many of us to fully appreciate
the impact that certain posts may have.
Including I would add on
the team’s mental health.
So can you discuss the short and long
term consequences of body image issues?
On these platforms, please.
The patterns that children establish
in their teenage years lived with
them for the rest of their lives.
The way they conceptualize who they are,
how they conceptualize,
how they interact with other people
are patterns and habits that they will
take with them as they become adults
as they themselves raise children.
I’m very scared about the
upcoming generation because.
When you and I interact in person
and I say something mean to you and
I see you wins or I see you cry.
That makes me less likely to
do it the next time, right?
That’s a feedback cycle.
Online kids don’t get those cues and
they learn to be incredibly cruel to
each other and they normalize it.
And I’m scared of what will
their lives look like,
where they grow up with the idea that
it’s OK to be treated badly by people
who who allegedly care about them.
That’s a scary future.
Very scary future.
And I see some evidence of
that as to so many parents.
Come on a on a regular basis or
are there other specific issues of
significant consequences that the
general public may not be fully aware
of that are impacting vulnerable
groups that you just like to elevate?
During this testimony.
One of the things that’s hard.
People who don’t look at the data
of social networks everyday it
can be hard to conceptualize the
distribution patterns of harms
or just of usage that there are
these things called power laws.
It means that a small number of
users are extremely intensely
engaged on any given topic,
and most people are just lightly engaged.
When you look at things like misinformation,
Facebook knows that the people who are
exposed to the most misinformation
are people who are recently widowed,
moved to a new city,
are isolated in some other way.
When I worked on civic misinformation,
we discussed the idea of the
like the idea that when people
are exposed to ideas that are
not true over and over again,
it erodes their ability to to
connect with the community at large
because they no longer adhere to
facts that are consensus reality.
The fact that Facebook knows that
is most vulnerable users people who
recently widowed like that they’re isolated,
that that the systems that are
meant to keep them safe like
Stop working when people look
at 2000 posts a day.
Right and I just it breaks my heart.
The idea that these rabbit holes
would suck people down and then
make it hard to connect with others.
So Miss Miss Hodge and I desperately want to,
which is the American impulse?
I want to solve this problem and I.
I very much believe that
Congress not only has a role,
but has a responsibility to figure this out.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers.
I would value your opinion though as
to whether you believe that breaking
up Facebook would solve any of the
problems that you’ve discussed today.
Do you think it would?
So as an algorithmic specialist,
so this is someone who designs
I’m actually against the breaking
up of Facebook because even looking
inside of just Facebook itself,
so not even Facebook and Instagram
you see the problems of engagement
based ranking repeat themselves.
So the problems here are about the
design of algorithms of AI and the
idea that AI is not intelligent.
And if you break up Instagram
and Facebook from each other,
it’s likely so I used to work on
Pinterest and a thing that we faced
from a business model perspective
was that advertisers didn’t want to
learn multiple advertising platforms.
That they wanted to learn.
They got one platform for Instagram
and Facebook and whatever.
And learning a second one for Pinterest,
Pinterest made radically fewer
dollars per user.
And what I’m scared of is right now,
Facebook is the Internet for
lots of the world.
If you go to Africa,
the Internet is Facebook.
If you split Facebook and Instagram apart,
it’s likely that most advertising
dollars will go to Instagram and
Facebook will continue to be this
Frankenstein that is altering like that.
It is endangering lives around the world.
Only now there won’t be money to fund it.
So I think oversight and regulatory
oversight and finding collaborative
solutions with Congress is going
to be key because these systems
are going to continue to exist and
be dangerous even if broken up.
Thank you thanks and how are you?
Senator Blackburn thank you Mr. Chairman.
I have a text that was just put
up by Facebook spokesperson.
It says just pointing out the fact that.
Frances Hogan did not work on child
safety or Instagram or research these
issues and has no direct knowledge of
the topic from her work at Facebook.
So I will simply say this to Mr.
Stone. If Facebook wants to discuss
their targeting of children.
If they want to discuss their practices.
Privacy, invasion or violations of
the Children Online Privacy Act.
I am extending to you an invitation
to step forward, be sworn in and
testify before this committee.
We would be pleased to hear from
you and welcome your testimony.
One quick question for you.
What’s the biggest threat to
Facebook’s existence is agreed,
is it regulators?
Is it becoming extinct or obsolete
for teenage users?
What is the biggest threat
to their existence?
I think the fact that Facebook is driven
so much by metrics and that these
lead to a very heavy emphasis on short
term ISM that every little individual
decision may seem like it helps with growth.
But if it makes it more and more toxic
platform that people don’t actually enjoy,
like when they passed
meaningful social interaction,
meaningful social interactions back in 2018,
Facebook’s own research said that users
said it made it less meaningful, right?
I think this aggregated set
of short term decisions.
Endangers Facebook’s future,
but sometimes we need to pull
it away from business as usual.
Will help it write new rules if we want
it to be successful in the future,
so they can’t see the forest for the guests.
Yes, very well, thank you.
And I know Senator Kluba Char is waiting,
so I’ll yield my time back.
And I thank you.
Thank you very much and thank you to
both of you for leadership and all three
of us are on the Judiciary Committee,
so we’re also working on a host of other
issues, including the App Store issues,
which is unrelated to Facebook actually
including issues relating to dominant
platforms when they promote their own
content or engage in exclusionary conduct,
which I know is not our topic.
Today I see the thumbs
up from you Miss Hogan,
which I appreciate and I think.
This idea of establishing some rules
of the road for these tech platforms
goes beyond the kid protection
that we so dearly need to do.
And I just want to make sure
you agree with me on that.
I was shocked when I saw the New York
Times story a couple weeks ago about
Facebook using its own platform to
promote positive news about itself.
I was like wow.
I knew you shaped our reality.
I wasn’t aware of that one right,
and that’s a lot of the work
that we’re doing over there,
so I want to get to something center.
Young was talking about
misinformation and center Wuhan,
and I have put together a an exception
actually to the 2:30 immunity when
it comes to vaccine misinformation in
the middle of a public health crisis.
Last week You Tube announced it was
swiftly banning all anti vaccine
misinformation and I have long called on
Facebook to take similar steps they take.
Taken some steps,
but do you think they can remove this
content and do they put sufficient resources?
We know the effect of this.
We know that over half the people
that haven’t gotten the vaccines
it’s because of something that
they’ve seen on social media.
I know the guy I walked into a cafe
and said his mother-in-law wouldn’t
get a vaccine because she thought a
microchip would be planted in her arm.
Which is false.
I’m just saying that for the record,
here could in case it gets
put on social media,
could you talk about are there?
Are there enough resources
to stop this from happening?
I do not believe Facebook as currently
structured has the capability to
stop vaccine misinformation because
they’re overly reliant on artificial
intelligence systems that they
themselves say will likely never
get more than 10 to 20% of content.
There you go.
And yet it’s a company that what
the cap over a trillion dollars
when the world’s biggest companies
that we’ve ever known.
And that’s what really bothers me here.
Senator Lujan and I also have pointed
out the issue with content moderators.
Does Facebook have enough content
moderation’s for content in Spanish
and other languages besides English?
One of the things that was disclosed.
We have we have documentation that
shows how much operational investment
there was by different languages
and it showed a consistent pattern
of underinvestment in languages
that are not English.
I am deeply concerned about
Facebook’s ability to operate in
a Safeway in languages beyond.
Maybe the top 20 in the world.
OK, thank you.
We go back to eating disorders today.
You said that you have documents indicating
Facebook is doing studies on kids under 13,
even though technically no kids under
13 are permitted on the platform.
The potential for eating disorder
content to be shown to these
children raises serious concerns.
Senator Blumenthal has been working on this.
I’ve long been focused
on this eating disorder.
Issue, given the mortality rates,
are you aware of studies Facebook has
conducted about whether kids under 13
under 13 on the platform are nudged
towards content related to eating
disorders or unhealthy diet practices?
CNN also did investigation on this front.
I have not seen specific studies regarding
eating disorders in under the age of 13,
but I have seen research that indicates
that they are aware that teenagers
coach tweens who are on the platform
to not reveal too much to not post too
often and that they have categorized
that as a myth that you can’t be
authentic on the platform and that
the marketing team should talk.
She tried to advertise to teenagers to stop.
Coaching twins that way.
So we I believe we’ve shared that
document with Congress exactly more.
Thank you and we’ll be looking more.
Speaking of the research issue.
Facebook has tried to downplay the
internal research that was done,
saying it was unreliable, reliable.
It seems to me that they’re trying
to mislead us there.
The research was extensive,
surveying hundreds of thousands
of people traveling around the
world to interview users.
In your view,
are the internal researchers at
Facebook who examined how users
are affected by the platform.
Is there work throw?
Are they experience?
Is it fair for Facebook to
throw them under the bus?
Facebook has one of the top ranked research
programs in the in in the tech industry,
like they’ve invested more in it than
and I then I believe any other social
media platform and the some of the
biggest heroes inside the company
are the researchers because they are
boldly asking real questions and
being willing to say awkward truths.
The fact that Facebook is
throwing them under the bus,
I think is unacceptable and I just
want the research just to know that I
stand with them and that I see them.
Or maybe we should say as the
name of one book, the ugly truth.
What about Facebook blocking?
Researchers at NYU you from accessing
the platform does that concern you?
These are outside researchers.
I am deeply concerned.
So for contacts,
for those who are not familiar
with this research,
there are researchers at NYU Yoo-hoo
because Facebook does not publish
enough data on political advertisements
or how they are distributed.
These are advertisements that influence
our democracy and how it operates.
They created a plugin that allowed
people to opt in to volunteer to
help collect this data collectively,
and Facebook lashed out at them and even
banned some of their individual accounts.
The fact that Facebook is so scared of
even basic transparency that it goes out
of its way to block researchers who are
asking awkward questions shows you the
need for congressional oversight and
why we need to do federal research and
federal regulations on this very good.
Thank you. Thank you for your work.
Thank Senator Klobuchar, Senator Markey.
Thank you, thank you Mr.
Chairman, thank you for your
incredible leadership on this issue.
As early as 2012.
Facebook has wanted to allow
children under the age of 12.
To use his platform.
At that time in 2012,
I wrote a letter to Facebook
asking questions about what
data it planned to collect and
whether the company intended to
serve targeted ads at children.
Now here we are nine years later.
Debating the very same issues today.
You’ve made it abundantly clear
why Facebook wants to bring
more children onto the platform.
It still hooked them early
just like cigarettes so that
they become lifelong users,
so Facebook’s profits increase.
Yet we should also ask why
in the last nine years,
as the company not launched Facebook for
kids or Instagram for kids after all,
from the testimony here today,
Facebook appears to act without regard
to any moral code or any conscience,
or instead puts profit above people profit.
Above all else.
The reason why Facebook
hasn’t officially permitted.
Kids 12 and under to use its
platform is because the child
online Privacy Protection Act.
Of 1998 that I’m the author of exists.
Because there is a privacy law on
the books which I authored that
gives the Federal Trade Commission
regulatory power to stop websites and
social media companies from invading
the privacy of our children 12 and under.
That’s why we need to expand the
child online Privacy Protection Act.
That’s why we need to pass the kids
act that Senator Blumenthal and I
have introduced and why we need an
algorithmic Justice Act to pass.
Because the absence of regulation
leads to harming teens stocking
division damaging our democracy,
that’s what you’ve told us today,
so Miss Hogan.
I want you to come back to the protections
that you are calling on us to enact.
This isn’t complicated.
We’re going to be told online
all day with these paid.
Facebook people, oh Congress can’t act.
They’re not experts.
It’s too complicated for Congress.
Just get out of the way.
You’re not experts.
this isn’t complicated.
Facebook and it’s big tech.
Lobbyists are blocking my bills to protect
kids because it would cost them money.
That’s how complicated it is.
So let’s start with the kids act and
Senator Blumenthal and I that would
ban influencer marketing to kids.
Today’s popular influencers.
Peddle products while they flaunt their
lavish lifestyles to young users.
Can you explain how allowing
influencer marketing to teens and
children makes Facebook more money?
The business model that provides
mostly a great deal of the
content on Instagram is one where
people produce content for free.
They put on Instagram free.
No one is charged for it,
but many of those content creators
have sponsorships from from brands
or from other affiliate programs.
Facebook needs those content
creators to continue to make content
so that we will view content and
in the process view more ads.
Facebook provides tools to support
influencers and who do influencer
marketing because it gives them the
supply of content that allows them
to keep people on the platform.
Viewing more ads,
making more money for them so.
I am actually the author of the 1990.
Children’s television act.
What does that do?
it says to all the television networks
in America stop praying upon children.
Stop using all of your power in
order to try to get young children
in our country hooked on the
products that are going to be sold,
we had to pass a law that banned
television stations from doing this.
That’s why I knew that after my law
passed in 1996 to break up the monopolies.
Of the telecommunications industry
and allow in the Googles and the
Facebooks and all the other companies.
You name it that we would need a
child privacy protection there
because everyone would just
move over to that new venue.
It was pretty obvious.
And of course the industry said no
way we’re going to have privacy laws
for adults and they blocked me from
putting that on the books in 1996.
But at least for children I got up to age 12.
That’s all I could get out of the industry.
But we also know that as time
has moved on it,
they’ve become even more
sophisticated so that.
The Kids Act is necessary to stop
children and teen apps from being
features such as likes and follower
counts that quantify popularity.
Can you explain how allowing these
features that create an online popularity
contest makes Facebook more money?
Uhm? Just to make sure so I I am only
familiar with issues regarding teens.
From the research I have read on Facebook,
so I want to put that caveat in there.
The research I’ve seen with regard
to quantifiable popularity is that
as long as comments are allowed,
so this is not a quantitative thing,
which is just comments.
As long as comments are
still on posts on Instagram,
take just taking likes off Instagram.
Doesn’t fix the social
comparison problem that you know,
teenage girls are smart.
They see that Sally is prettier than them.
Her pictures are really good.
She gets tons of comments.
They don’t get many comments right.
And so I do think we need
larger interventions than just
removing quantitative measures.
Facebook has a product that
is very attractive.
The reason why they have the study of
problematic uses ’cause it is kind of
addictive and those kinds of things
like having lots of little feedback loops,
keeps kids engaged.
And like I mentioned earlier,
part of why Facebook switched over to
meaningful social interactions was
it found that if you got more likes,
more comments, more reassures,
you produced more content.
And so having those systems of
of little rewards makes people
produce more content,
which means we view more
content and we view more ads,
which makes them more money.
OK, and the kids acted.
Senator Blumenthal and I are
advocating for also prohibits
amplification of dangerous and
violent content to children and teens.
Can you explain how algorithms pushing that
dangerous content makes Facebook more money?
I I don’t think Facebook ever
set out to intentionally promote.
I do think though that they are aware
of the side effects of the choices
they have made around amplification,
and they know that algorithmic based ranking,
so engagement based ranking
keeps you on their sites longer.
You have long, you have longer sessions,
you show up more often and
that makes them more money.
So do you believe we have to ban all
features that quantify popularity
as a starting point in legislation?
As I as I covered before the
internal research I’ve seen is that
removing things like likes alone,
if you don’t remove things like comments,
it doesn’t have a huge impact
on social comparison.
So I do believe we need to have a more
integrated solution for these issues.
Do should we ban targeted
advertisements to children?
I strongly encourage banning
targeted advertisements to children,
and we need to have oversight in
terms of I think the algorithms will
likely still learn the interests
of kids and match adds those kids
even if the advertiser can’t.
Articulate and want to target
on this interest rate.
How much money does Facebook made
make from targeting children?
I don’t know what fraction of
their revenue comes from children,
so ultimately children are not commodities.
They’ve always been given
historically special protections.
That’s what the Children’s Television Act of
1990 is all about.
They’ve always been given this special
safety zone so the children can
grow up without being preyed upon.
By marketers When I was a boy and the
salesman would knock on the front door,
my mother would just say,
tell him I’m not home.
That man is not getting into our living room.
Well, I would say to my mother
but you are home not to him,
she would say.
Well, we need to give parents
the ability just to say.
No one is home for you and your
company and your attempts to prey upon
children to get into our living room.
That’s how a moment in history we have to
make sure that we respond to the challenge.
Thank you, Mr.
Chairman, thank you,
Senator Markey and my thanks to
Senator Markey for his leadership over
many years on protecting children.
As you’ve heard, he was a.
Champion in the House of
Representatives for coming here.
But well before I was in
the United States Senate.
But around the time I was
elected attorney General,
I’ve been very pleased and
accounted to work with him on.
Legislation now going forward
and I joined him in thanking you,
I have just a few concluding
questions and I seem to be the
last one left standing here.
So the good news is I don’t think.
Will have others, but as you may know.
You do know my office created an Instagram
user identified as a 13 year old girl.
She followed a few easily
identifiable accounts on.
Weight loss, dieting,
eating disorders and she was
deluged literally within a day.
Content pushed to her by.
Algorithms that in effect promoted.
Self injury and eating disorders.
Are you surprised by that fact?
I’m not surprised by that fact.
Facebook has internal research
where they have done even more
gentle versions of that experiment
where they have started from things
like interest in healthy recipes.
So not even extreme dieting,
and because of the nature of
engagement based ranking and
amplification of interests.
That that that imaginary user was pushed,
or that that really count was
pushed towards extreme dieting and
pro anorexia content very rapidly.
And that’s the algorithm.
That’s the algorithm.
That algorithm could be changed.
The algorithm definitely could be changed.
I I have first-hand experience
from having worked at Pinterest.
Pinterest used to be an application
that was heavily based just on
you follow certain peoples pins
and those are put into your feed.
And overtime it grew to be much,
much more heavily based on recommendations
that the algorithm would figure out.
What are you interested in?
You can have wonderful experiences
that are based on human interactions,
so these are human scale technologies,
not computers. Choosing what we focus on.
So the average parent
listening here worried about?
Their daughter or son.
Being deluged with these kinds of.
Would want that kind of algorithm changed?
I would think and would welcome
the oversight that you’re
recommending. I, I believe parents
deserve more options and more
choices and today they don’t know
even what they could be asking for.
I just received by text literally.
About 15 minutes ago a message
from someone in Connecticut.
And I’m going to read it to you.
It’s from a dad. Uhm?
I’m in tears right now.
Watching your interaction.
With Frances Haugen my 15 year old
daughter loved her body at 14.
Was on Instagram constantly?
And maybe posting too much.
Suddenly she started hating her body.
Her body dysmorphia now anorexia.
And was in deep deep trouble
before we found treatment.
I fear she’ll never be the same.
And broken heart.
I think people tend to lose
sight of the real world impact.
Yeah, yeah. And. I think that
is the reason that you’re here.
I just like to invite you.
If you have any words to those.
Other. Employees at BGT Act the
workers who may be troubled by the
misconduct or unethical conduct.
That they see what you would tell them.
We live in a pattern that we have seen
throughout time with regard to technologies
is the humans are very crafty people
like we we find interesting solutions,
but we often get out over our skis, right?
We we develop things that are of a larger
scale than we know really know how to handle.
And what we have done in the
past is when we see this happen,
we take a step back and we find
institutions and we find frameworks
for doing these things in a Safeway.
We live in a moment where whistleblowers
are very important because these
technological systems are walled off,
they are very complicated.
There are things that you need to
be a specialist to really understand
the consequences of and the fact
that we’ve been having these acts,
same kinds of false choice,
discussions about what to do about Facebook,
you know, is it about privacy or oversight?
Is it about censorship or safety?
Like the fact that we’re being
asked these false choices?
It’s just an illustration of what
happens when the real solutions
are hidden inside of companies.
We need more tech employees to
come forward through legitimate
channels like the SEC or Congress
to make sure that the public has the
information they need in order to
have technologies be human centric,
not not not computer centric. Thank you.
On that note, we’ll conclude.
Thank you for an extraordinary.
I think that anybody watching
would be impressed and much better
informed and you’ve done.
America real public service.
The record will remain open for a week.
I’m sorry for two weeks.
Any senators who want to submit questions
for the record should do so by October 4th,
This hearing is adjourned.