Facebook Global Head of Safety Director, Antigone Davis, testifies remotly before a hearing of the … [+] Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security to examine protecting children online, focusing on Facebook, Instagram, and mental health harms, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, September 30, 2021. (Photo by Patrick Semansky / POOL / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

A fundamental crisis management best practice is not to do or say anything that can make a crisis worse or put your credibility and honesty into question.

Facebook put that best practice to the test—and appeared to miss the mark by a wide margin—at a hearing Thursday by a U.S. Senate Commerce subcommittee about mental health issues related to the social media platform and its postponed launch of Instagram Kids. Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global safety, represented the company.

As the Washington Post noted, “Senators accused Facebook of dodging questions and burying internal research about how its products may harm children, pledging to further investigate the tech giant during heated confrontations…”

Subcommittee chairman Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said Facebook “… has hidden its own research on addiction and the toxic effects of its products.” The company, “has attempted to deceive the public and us in Congress about what it knows, and it has weaponized childhood vulnerabilities against children themselves. It’s chosen growth over children’s mental health and well-being, greed over preventing the suffering of children.”

Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the panel weighed in saying that, “You’ve lost trust, and we do not trust you with influencing our children.”

Repeating Talking Points

Shiri Dori-Hacohen is an assistant professor in computer science and engineering at the University of Connecticut. She noted that, “Davis repeated several talking points again and again, such as the ‘positive and uplifting content,’ …Davis likewise rejected multiple senator’s characterizations of Facebook’s products as ‘addictive’ or the comparison to cigarettes.”

The Wall Street Journal noted that Davis, “… largely succeeded in sticking to the company line that the company’s internal research had been misinterpreted, while deflecting many of …….

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/edwardsegal/2021/09/30/facebook-heavily-criticized-at-senate-hearing-on-mental-health-and-instagram-kids-issues/

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