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The Senate called CEOs of social media applications to testify regarding the safety of children online in response to a whistleblower’s report on the effects of Facebook on youngsters. This has led a number of businesses, including Instagram and Snap, to release new technologies aimed at preventing potential cybercrimes against children.
The Senate subcommittee on consumer protection questioned Facebook on the subject, with questions coming from both Democrats and Republicans. The senators claim that Facebook and other comparable apps can be used to encourage juvenile violence, such as vandalism, challenges, bullying, and deceptive marketing.
The whistleblower who started the Senate campaign
A whistleblower testified before Congress less than a year ago that the social media company was aware of the application’s detrimental effects on teens. Along with the testimonies, thousands of pages of study and documentation were presented.
“I am here today because I believe that Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division, and weaken our democracy. The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer 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,” said 37-year-old Frances Haugen, who previously worked for Facebook as a product manager.
“When we realized tobacco companies were hiding the harms it caused, the government took action. When we figured out cars were safer with seat belts, the government took action. And today, the government is taking action against companies that hid evidence on opioids. I implore you to do the same here,” the whistleblower added.
The remark caused the Senate to issue a request to other businesses and devise measures to lessen the effects stated in the document filed before them by Haugen.
In response to a request from Congress, Snapchat finally debuted its parental control center on Tuesday. The concept, however, was first presented to Congress ten months ago, and it has only recently become a reality as a result of the pressure that lawmakers have recently applied to social media corporations.
The Family Center is the name of the tool. Parents may now see who their children are chatting with on the app, thanks to the functionality. The name of the contact will be shown on the parent’s side, but the conversation’s actual content won’t be available. Parents must create their own Snapchat accounts and request authorization from their children’s accounts in order to use the feature.
“Family Center is designed to reflect the way that parents engage with their teens in the real world, where parents usually know who their teens are friends with and when they are hanging out — but don’t eavesdrop on their private conversations,” explained the company in one of its blog posts.
Before the launch of Family Center, Snapchat already had security measures in place to protect its users, including the need for minors to have mutual friends on their accounts before initiating communication and the ban on having public profiles.
More features will soon be added to the Family Center, according to Snap. It might also provide parents access to a list of the accounts their kids follow, in addition to sending them automatic notifications when their kids report an account.
Instagram, like Snap and other social media companies, has released new tools to connect parents’ accounts with their children’s accounts. The tools would assist parents in understanding how much time their children spend on the app, as well as the accounts their children follow – and who follows them. It is still only available in the United States, but Instagram promises that it will be available outside of the United States soon.
The business claims that additional functionality will be made accessible soon.
The parent company of Instagram, Meta, introduced “Family Center,” a platform aimed at enhancing parental oversight of their children’s social media usage as well as access to their contacts and following.
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