RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein has joined his peers in voicing support of congressional hearings on young people and social media.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security put on The Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms hearings as a result of concerns over child safety on social media sites.
In a press release, Stein said he was grateful Congress was taking a closer look at the issue.
“We’re learning more about how Facebook and other social media platforms are harmful to our children – including worsening mental health issues and leading to depression, bullying, and eating disorders – but we still don’t know enough,” Stein said.
Stein joins 51 other attorneys general in sending a letter to the committee.
Part of that letter read:
“We are incensed by recent reports in the Wall Street Journal (“WSJ”) and other media outlets, which, if accurate, detail how Facebook has designed its algorithms to attract greater youth engagement. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that Facebook is doing all of this knowing its own internal studies show the resulting harm – increased mental distress, bullying, contemplation of suicide, and other self-harm – on a significant number of children, with a particularly negative impact on young girls.”
The letter called the matter urgent and said this the well-being of the nation’s youth was “at stake.”
“We are confident that your hearings will uncover critical information about the business practices that social media companies are using to gain the attention of more young people on their platforms,” the letter read.
In May, Stein joined 44 attorneys general who called in Facebook to abandon their plans for a version of Instagram for children under 13. That project is now on hold.
Click here to read the letter in its entirety.