Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen testifies at a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on protecting kids online.

Big Tech  


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.


The company.


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


Attorney general.


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.


Mark Zuckerberg,


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.


Assessing that.


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.


Dangerous body.




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.


Disturbing kind.


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.


Miss Hogan.


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,


of course,


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.


Last week,


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


Facebook addiction,


which Facebook calls conveniently


problematic use.


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.


That’s right.


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.


Chairman. Thanks.


Senator blank.


Thank you Senator Blackburn.


I don’t know where the ranking


member would like to make it.


If you don’t mind.


Thank you.




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.


They are.




possessive of immense,


immense power.


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.


While important,


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.


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.


Facebook dogs.


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 isn’t.


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 agree.


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


healthy place.


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 apologies.


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.


  1. 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,


for example,


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


original defaults.


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


committee’s jurisdiction,


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.


We also,


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,


and, importantly,


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.


So you,


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


reduces misinformation.


No one is censored by being forced to


click on a link before re sharing it.


Thank you,


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.


Do 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.


Thank you.


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,


particularly children?


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.


Uh. Her.


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,


you know,


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


these problems.


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.


Thank you.


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,


you know,


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


MSI metric.


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,




Like people,


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,


local 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,


gender, location.


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


an experiment.


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.


That is.


A tip specifically designed to


encourage and promote anorexia.


And it’s on there now.


The language,


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


Facebook’s approval.


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.


Mr. Chairman.


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.


For example,


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.


Miss Hogan.


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


your supervisors?


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.


Promotes 2.


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


have transparency


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


Luhan’s questions,


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


identifiable information


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,


for example,


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?


At Facebook?


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,


hate speech,


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


at Facebook,


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.




It’s my


old school.


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.


Facebook today.


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.


Right well.


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.


Rightfully so.


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,


and additionally,


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.


But yes,


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.


The problems.


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,


less reactive,


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,


not computers.


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.


For example,


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.


Thank you.


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.


Data privacy.




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.


You know,


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.


Which is,


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?


Kind of.


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.


So Facebook,


I’m sorry,


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.


Well, Mr.




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.


Woman but.


Thank you for your honesty


and your candor on that topic.


Senator Scott


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


augmented reality.


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,


because toxicity,


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.


I mean,


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.


Influence peddling.


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.


Our nation,


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


opportunity to.


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.


Thank you,


Senator Young.


Jenn. Thank you for your


compelling testimony.


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


misinformation burden,


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


demoting misinformation.


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


algorithmics experiences.


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.


Could you?


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.


Miss Hogan.


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.


Miss Hogan.


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.


Divisive, extreme,


polarizing content.


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.


Thank you.


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,


October 19th.


This hearing is adjourned.


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