Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri testified the first time before congress and refusing to commit to permanently ending the paused plans to create a version of the platform for kids under 13.
Mosseri told the senate commerce subcommittee on consumer protection that he is the ultimate decision maker on the manner and that he would work to ensure no child between 10 and 12 years old would have access to any version of the platform without explicit parental consent.
He said the initial goal of creating a kid’s focused product was to solve the problem of kids under 13 wanting to use Instagram and the industry to verify age.
Richard Blumenthal, the subcommittee’s chair, told reporters after the hearing he was deeply disappointed by the lack of commitment.
The hearing, which was part of a series of such testimonies about child protection online, once again highlighted the widespread frustration among lawmakers on the panel with what they see as the tech platform’s slowness to act on the negative effects of its product.
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Lawmakers came prepared with their own experiments on the platform to explore how it recommends content to young users. And while they seemed to appreciate several steps the agency recently said it would take to give parents more control over young user’s activity on the platform, they wondered what has prevented those steps from already being implemented.
Mosseri said in his opening remarks that he remains proud of the platform’s efforts to keep young people safe even after leaked internal documents left lawmakers furious about what they lawmakers furious about what they said was the company’s lack of action.
At one point in the hearing, Blackburn gave Mosseri a chance to address parents who lost their children to suicide. He referenced his own role as father of three, saying he could not even begin to imagine that experience and that as head of Instagram it is his responsibility to do all I can to keep people safe.