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Ex-Facebook Employee Alleges Executives Ignored Social Media’s Harms to Children

A former employee of Facebook, Arturo Bejar, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, alleging that the company’s executives were aware of the dangers posed to children on social media but chose not to take action. Bejar raised concerns about children’s experiences on Meta’s platforms, including inappropriate sexual advances and bullying, but his warnings were ignored. Despite consulting the social media giant, Bejar stated that he believes Meta understands the problem but has chosen not to address it.

During his testimony, Bejar revealed that his own daughter had experienced unwanted sexual advances on Instagram when she was a child. However, when he raised the issue with Meta, he received no response. Other former employees of Meta and its competitors have also voiced concerns about the dangers posed by big tech companies.

Senator Richard Blumenthal commended Bejar for providing concrete evidence of the harms children face on Instagram. According to Bejar’s data, more than one-fourth of teenagers aged 13 to 15 reported receiving sexual advances on the platform, and nearly one-third witnessed discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender, race, and religion.

Blumenthal criticized Meta for its lack of action in remedying these problems and accused the company of hiding evidence from Congress. In response, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone stated that the company is committed to protecting children online and has implemented various tools to ensure their safety.

Bejar’s testimony has further fueled calls for congressional action to address the harm social media platforms can cause to teens. Senators Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn have reintroduced the Kids Online Safety Act, which aims to require social media platforms to prevent and reduce harm to teenagers.

Some senators, such as Josh Hawley and Lindsey Graham, pointed to the influence of big tech lobbyists as a barrier to meaningful legislation. However, Graham pledged to return any campaign contributions he received from Facebook, Instagram, and other tech companies.

Outside of Congress, several states have filed lawsuits against Meta, accusing the company of exposing children to harmful social media features. Additionally, numerous school districts have sued big tech companies for the alleged negative impact on youth mental health.

Bejar’s recommendation for addressing these issues is to introduce new regulations that allow users to flag unwanted content and have greater control over the posts they see. He emphasized that while he opposes online censorship, there should be no right to harass others online.

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