People familiar with Facebook’s business processes say the social media giant has recently slowed down new product launches. This is due to a multitude of media reports and hearings in the US Congress, the reason for which was the leaked internal documents of the company, which talk about the harmful effects of Facebook and Instagram on people, especially young users.
Facebook executives have paused some work on existing products, while more than a dozen people are engaged in “reputation checks” to determine what Facebook could be criticized for in the future and to ensure that its products do not negatively impact children.
Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday that he has asked Facebook employees in leadership positions to dive deeply into their work for the next few days and pledged to continue researching the company’s products for harmful effects on people. Zuckerberg emphasized that it is important for him that the products offered by Facebook do not harm young users.
As a reminder, Facebook postponed the launch of Instagram Kids indefinitely last week after lawmakers and other influencers raised concerns about the social media’s impact on children’s mental well-being. The company has posted a series of posts stating that research results demonstrating the harm of Instagram have been taken out of context and show a “false picture” of Facebook’s priorities.
Sources say Facebook has tightened control over what information is shared within the company over the past few weeks. According to people familiar with the matter, a specially organized group is looking into all the internal research that could potentially harm Facebook’s image if made public. A social media spokesperson said the team is committed to better understanding Facebook’s internal research and the context in which it was conducted.
Since the publication of research showing the harmful effects of Instagram on the psyche of adolescents, there have been two hearings in the US Congress and another in the Senate by the Consumer Protection Subcommittee. During this hearing, a former Facebook employee urged the social network to publicly share internal and external research, as the public cannot independently assess the impact of its products on health and well-being.
According to sources, Facebook executives discussed the possibility of suing the former employee of the company Frances Haugen (Frances Haugen), who, in her own words, stole company documents on research on the impact of Instagram on the psyche of children. The offer was rejected due to concerns that the move would further damage Facebook’s reputation.
Facebook employees say they feel unfairly attacked by the press and lawmakers in light of recent events, especially given that other tech companies do not conduct this kind of research at all. In turn, US senators say they will write letters to Facebook, demanding more information, and do not deny the likelihood that the case may go to court.