Warren, Senators Request Documents from Mark Zuckerberg After Newly Unsealed Court Filing from Massachusetts Attorney General Alleges Meta Hid Evidence of Social Media Harms to Kids
Newly unsealed disclosures from MA AG suggest Meta executives’ direct knowledge of the harms of its products & concealment from Congress and the public, supporting whistleblower Arturo Béjar’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law
Washington, D.C. – Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with a bipartisan group of Senators, urged Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to provide documents related to senior executives’ knowledge of the mental and physical health harms associated with its platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. The Senators’ letter follows last week’s hearing with a new Facebook whistleblower and after a newly unsealed complaint filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General against Meta alleged Zuckerberg and other Meta executives knew firsthand the serious harms its products were causing to kids, but failed to act to remedy them and deliberately misled the public and Congress.
“Meta’s representations to the public and in response to Congressional inquiries concealed and misrepresented its extensive knowledge about the threats to young people on its platforms,” wrote U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren, Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).
Last Tuesday, former Facebook executive Arturo Béjar testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law about his efforts to inform Zuckerberg and other Meta executives about alarming internal research data on harmful experiences young people have on Instagram. “Rather than act on the stunning findings, Meta hid this information from the public and Congressional oversight while providing misleading statistics, ignoring recommendations to protect teens, and even rolling back safety tools,” continued the Senators.
Newly unredacted allegations in the lawsuit filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General corroborate Béjar’s testimony, suggesting the mental health risks of Facebook and Instagram were known widely within the company. “Executives are alleged to have repeatedly made decisions to implement changes to a product that they knew would harm teens and shelved safeguards based on concerns about their impact on revenue,” wrote the Senators, citing excerpts from the unsealed complaint alleging that the company continually underinvested in platform safety staff and Zuckerberg personally vetoed a new safety feature. “It now seems clear that the root of Meta’s repeated failure to act to enhance the safety of its products starts at the top.”
The Senators called on Zuckerberg to provide to Congress directly a number of documents related to safety, including communications with Béjar and other communications between senior executives cited in the Massachusetts suit.
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