Connect with us

Tecnologia

Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s Head, Agrees to Testify Before Congress

Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, has agreed for the first time to testify before Congress, as bipartisan anger mounts over harms to young people from the app.

Mr. Mosseri is expected to appear before a Senate panel during the week of Dec. 6 as part of a series of hearings on protecting children online, said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who will lead the hearing.

Mr. Mosseri’s appearance follows hearings this year with Antigone Davis, the global head of safety for Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, and with Frances Haugen, a former employee turned whistle-blower. Ms. Haugen’s revelations about the social networking company, particularly those about Facebook and Instagram’s research into its effects on some teenagers and young girls, have spurred criticism, inquiries from politicians and investigations from regulators.

In September, Ms. Davis told Congress that the company disputed the premise that Instagram was harmful for teenagers and noted that the leaked research did not have causal data. But after Ms. Haugen’s testimony last month, Mr. Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, wrote a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, suggesting that his company had “provided false or inaccurate testimony to me regarding attempts to internally conceal its research.”

Mr. Blumenthal asked that Mr. Zuckerberg or Mr. Mosseri testify in front of the consumer protection subcommittee of the Senate’s Commerce Committee to set the record straight.

“He’s the top guy at Instagram, and the whole nation is asking about why Instagram and other tech platforms have created so much danger and damage by driving toxic content to children with these immensely powerful algorithms,” said Mr. Blumenthal, who chairs the subcommittee. “The hearing will be critically significant in guiding us to develop laws that can have an impact on making platforms safer.”

Dani Lever, a Meta spokeswoman, said in a statement: “We continue to work with the committee to find a date for Adam to testify on the important steps Instagram is taking.”

Mr. Blumenthal said he would question Mr. Mosseri about how Instagram’s algorithms can send children into dangerous rabbit holes. Since Mr. Blumenthal’s subcommittee began its series of hearings, lawmakers have heard from hundreds of parents and children who have shared personal anecdotes, including stories of how posts on fitness devolved into recommendations for content related to extreme dieting, eating disorders and self-harm.

Mr. Blumenthal said he would seek a commitment from Mr. Mosseri to make Instagram’s ranking and recommendation decisions transparent to the public and to experts who can study how the app amplifies harmful content. Mr. Blumenthal said that executives at Snap, TikTok and YouTube, who all testified in a previous hearing, have committed to algorithmic transparency.

While Mr. Zuckerberg has become accustomed to being hauled in front of U.S. lawmakers, this will be the first time Mr. Mosseri will testify to them under oath. A trusted lieutenant to Mr. Zuckerberg who was chosen to lead Instagram in 2018, Mr. Mosseri has become the photo-sharing app’s public face, hosting regular video announcements about new features and appearing on morning television shows.

In September, before Ms. Davis’s Senate hearing, Mr. Mosseri appeared on NBC’s Today Show to announce that Instagram would pause the development of a version of the app designed for children following public backlash and renewed lawmaker interest sparked by Ms. Haugen’s leaks. BuzzFeed News first reported in March that the company was working on a version of Instagram for children under 13.

Mr. Mosseri’s scheduled appearance is the latest fallout from Ms. Haugen’s leaked files, which were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Those documents, called The Facebook Papers, have formed the basis for multiple complaints to the Securities and Exchange Commission that Meta misled investors about its efforts to protect users.

Last week, a bipartisan group of 11 state attorneys general announced that it had opened an investigation into whether Meta had failed to protect the mental well-being of young people on its platforms including Instagram.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

Tecnologia

Twitter Will Take Down Pictures of People Posted Without Their Permission

A sweeping expansion of Twitter’s policy against posting private information was met with backlash shortly after the company announced it on Tuesday, as Twitter users questioned whether the policy would be practical to enforce.

Twitter’s new policy states that photos or videos of private individuals that are posted without their permission will be taken down at their request. Twitter’s rules already prohibit the posting of private information like addresses, phone numbers and medical records.

“When we are notified by individuals depicted, or by an authorized representative, that they did not consent to having their private image or video shared, we will remove it,” Twitter’s new policy states. “This policy is not applicable to media featuring public figures or individuals when media and accompanying tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

The policy goes further than U.S. law, which allows people to be photographed or filmed in public places. Under Twitter’s policy, people could request that photos of them be taken down even if the images were taken in public.

But Twitter said that its policy is consistent with privacy laws in the European Union and elsewhere and that it had already removed photos of private individuals in those locations, consistent with local laws.

The new policy will extend privacy rights to users in countries that do not have similar laws, a Twitter spokeswoman said. Under Twitter’s policy, a user could have a photo removed if it was used to harass them or if they simply did not like the photo.

Twitter plans to make exceptions for newsworthy images and videos, and the company will take into consideration whether the image was publicly available, was being used by traditional news outlets or was “relevant to the community.”

“We will always try to assess the context in which the content is shared, and, in such cases, we may allow the images or videos to remain on the service,” the policy said.

Continue Reading

Tecnologia

The head of Meta’s cryptocurrency efforts is leaving the company.

David Marcus, the leader of cryptocurrency efforts at Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, said on Tuesday that he plans to leave his post at the end of the year.

Mr. Marcus, 48, a longtime Silicon Valley executive in payments and digital finance, worked on many projects during his seven years at the social media company. Most recently, he spearheaded Meta’s push into a global digital currency that could be used by Facebook and WhatsApp users to transmit payments across borders. The project, initially called Libra, was later rebranded Diem after facing pushback from regulators.

“I remain as passionate as ever about the need for change in our payments and financial systems,” Mr. Marcus said in a series of tweets. “My entrepreneurial DNA has been nudging me for too many mornings in a row to continue ignoring it.”

Mr. Marcus founded Zong, a mobile payments start-up that was acquired by the digital finance giant PayPal. After rising quickly at PayPal, he was recruited to Facebook to lead its Messenger app, growing it to reach hundreds of millions of users.

While at Facebook, Mr. Marcus was heavily involved in the rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, acting as an adviser to companies like Coinbase.

He parlayed that knowledge into Libra, which was a pet project of Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive. Libra was an attempt to democratize finance so that people could use Facebook’s apps — including Messenger and WhatsApp — to send cryptocurrency to one another across the world, which they could eventually exchange for local currencies.

The project stalled when a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers questioned the company’s efforts and how much power the social network had over global social media. Mr. Marcus testified about the efforts to Congress in 2019, though it did little to assuage concerns.

The Libra cryptocurrency was eventually rebranded Diem, while the company’s efforts at a crypto wallet were called Novi. The mishmash of names often has been confusing, even for company insiders.

Mr. Marcus did not specify his future plans. Spokespeople for Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Continue Reading

Tecnologia

Jack Dorsey’s Twitter Departure Hints at Big Tech’s Restlessness

“I don’t think there’s anything more important in my lifetime to work on, and I don’t think there’s anything more enabling for people around the world,” he told the audience at a Bitcoin conference in Miami in June.

Mr. Dorsey, whose oracular beard and quirky wellness routines have made him something of a cult figure in Silicon Valley, has become a crypto influencer in recent months. Bitcoin fans cheered his resignation on Monday, assuming he’d be spending his newfound free time championing their cause. (A more likely scenario is that he’ll continue to push crypto projects at Square, where he’s already started building a decentralized finance business.)

Mr. Dorsey didn’t respond to a request for comment, so I can’t be totally sure what’s behind his exit, but it’s easy to see why he would be getting restless at Twitter after more than 15 years of involvement. He cut his teeth during the internet boom of the late 2000s and early 2010s, when being a co-founder of a hot social media app was a pretty great gig. You got invited to fancy conferences, investors showered you with money and the media heralded you as a disruptive innovator. If you were lucky, you even got invited to the White House to hang out with President Barack Obama. Social media was changing the world — Kony 2012! The Arab Spring! — and as long as your usage numbers kept moving in the right direction, life was good.

Today, running a giant social media company is — by the looks of it — pretty miserable. Sure, you’re rich and famous, but you spend your days managing a bloated bureaucracy and getting blamed for the downfall of society. Instead of disrupting and innovating, you sit in boring meetings and fly to Washington so politicians can yell at you. The cool kids no longer want to work for you — they’re busy flipping NFTs and building DeFi apps in web3 — and regulators are breathing down your neck.

In many ways, today’s crypto scene has inherited the loose, freewheeling spirit of the early social media companies. Crypto start-ups are raising tons of money, attracting huge amounts of hype and setting off on utopian-sounding missions of changing the world. The crypto universe is full of weird geniuses with unusual pedigrees and big appetites for risk, and web3 — a vision for a decentralized internet built around blockchains — contains lots of the kinds of complex technical problems that engineers love to solve. Those factors, plus the enormous sums of money flowing into crypto, have made it a tempting landing spot for burned-out tech employees looking to get back in touch with their youthful optimism — and maybe for C.E.O.s, too.

“Silicon Valley tech is the old guard, distributed crypto is the frontier,” Naval Ravikant, another crypto booster and an early Twitter investor, tweeted this month.

Square, which builds mobile payment systems, has always been the most natural outlet for Mr. Dorsey’s crypto dreams. But he has tried to incorporate some of Bitcoin’s principles into Twitter. The company added Bitcoin tipping and started a decentralization project called Bluesky last year, with the goal of creating an open protocol that would allow outside developers to build Twitter-like social networks with different rules and features from the main Twitter app. (Mr. Agrawal, who is taking over for Mr. Dorsey at Twitter, has been closely involved with these initiatives, meaning they probably won’t disappear when Mr. Dorsey does.)

Continue Reading