Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, testifies before the Senate today about Instagram’s impact on teen mental health. Her first Senate appearance is just one of many hearings that have taken place since whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked documents from Facebook – now Meta – showing the company knew she was harming to teenage girls.
In July, Instagram made a move toward teen user safety by implementing a policy that made all accounts for users under 16 private by default. But Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) told the hearing that just yesterday her team created an account for a 15-year-old, which was not private by default. She directly asked Mosseri why this happened.
“This turns outside this we fault those under the age of 16 for private accounts for the vast majority of accounts, which are created to android and iOS,” Mosseri said. “We missed this on the web and will fix it soon.”
Not implementing the feature uniformly is a significant oversight for a company that wants to be proactive in protecting its younger users, especially since the flaw has remained open for months undetected.
Faced with legislative pressure, Instagram continues to add more security features like “Take a Break” and parental controls, which will be rolled out in 2022. Following whistleblower leaks, Mosseri suspended development of Instagram Kids, a product designed for users under the age of 13.
This story develops…