Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, brushed off concerns about children’s use of Instagram during a recent US Congressional hearing with world’s social media giants on Thursday (local time).
The big tech CEOs, like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Sundar Pichai of Google, and Jack Dorsey of Twitter, were asked to answer questions about misinformation spreading through web-based media in a virtual meeting titled US Congressional Hearing.
During the investigation, questions ranged from nuanced and on-topic inquiries regarding incidents that pointed at the capitol protests to conspiracy-theory-informed claims about Facebook’s association with border smugglers.
Few members of Congress asked Zuckerberg on how teenagers and young adults use Facebook’s platforms, such as Instagram. Members wanted to know how Facebook keeps children safe and protects their personal information through this.
Following that, Zuckerberg claimed that the platform is built to keep children healthy. “Helping people stay connected with friends and learn about various content online is broadly positive,” he said.
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The issue arose after Facebook hot topic news emerged, suggesting that the company’s photo-sharing service is focusing on creating a site for children under the age of 13. Users must be at least 13 years old to use Instagram, according to the Childhood Online Protection Act (COPA).
Concerned about the turn of events, parents’ organisations have been urging Facebook for quite some time to do more about online media compulsion, abuse, and the ways in which time spent on the internet has a negative effect on emotional well-being.
Rep. Kathy Castor posed the question after citing a number of damning studies on the topic, and Zuckerberg could only answer, “Congresswoman, I’m aware of the issues.”
However, Zuckerberg acknowledged that some children still lie about their age and yet find their way onto the site.
“We’re early in thinking through how this service would work. There is clearly a large number of people under the age of 13 who would want to use a service like Instagram,” Zuckerberg from Facebook said.
However, Castor put the idea on notice and said, “You know that the brain and social development of our kids is still evolving at a young age. There are reasons in the law that we set that [13-year-old age limit] because these platforms have ignored it. They’ve profited off of it. We’re going to strengthen the law.”