Jim Steyer, Founder and CEO of Common Sense, Issues Statement After Facebook Whistleblower Hearing “Protect Kids Online”
SAN FRANCISCO (October 5, 2021)-- Today's Senate hearing with former Facebook employee Frances Haugen was one of the most in-depth and honest discussions we have heard in Congress about Facebook. As Ms. Haugen stated, kids cannot escape the dangerous information and images they're exposed to on platforms like Facebook and Instagram; it follows them into their homes and bedrooms. Facebook's leadership has consistently allowed harmful content to fester and encouraged its spread. We echo Haugen's call to reform Section 230 so big tech companies like Facebook are held accountable, but that will not be enough.
It's time for lawmakers to put aside their differences and come together to protect kids online. We are calling on Congress to do the following, and do it as quickly as possible:
- Pass the bipartisan and bicameral CAMRA Act. It's critical that Facebook releases its research, but we also need independently funded (not industry funded) research that looks at the effects of social media on children and teens.
- Update COPPA. Congress should pass bipartisan privacy protections that stop companies from profiling teens and youth and microtargeting them with ads and content specifically designed to prey on their fears and insecurities.
- Support the KIDS Act and DETOUR Act. These proposals support healthy technology for kids -- and move children away from over-commercialism and endless scrolling, and will help to ensure a quality online experience for kids.
The bi-partisan anger at Facebook is encouraging and totally justified. The next step is to turn that bi-partisan anger into bi-partisan legislative action before the year is over.
About Common Sense
Common Sense is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. Learn more at commonsense.org.
Jason Maymon, Vice President, Communications