Lawmakers Press Big Tech Oligarchs On Their Role In Damaging Children’s Mental Health

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Republican lawmakers on the Committee on Energy and Commerce House committee are urging Big Tech companies to provide more information about their products’ effect on children’s mental health.

Google, Facebook, and Twitter CEOs received letters from GOP Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Bob Latta, Gus Bilirakis, and Morgan Griffith on Tuesday requesting that any research and studies on kids’ mental health after using certain technologies and social media platforms, be turned over to the committee by mid-April.

The information provided, the leaders noted, should include age breakdowns, if applicable, such as measuring the effect these platforms have on those under the of 13 versus those between the ages of 13 and 18. The committee and subcommittee leaders also requested the names of the companies contracted for the studies, the results of that research, and any examination detailing “the impact competitors’ products have on children’s mental health.”

Last week, McMorris Rodgers denounced the Silicon Valley giants in a joint big tech hearing for lording their power to “to manipulate and harm our children.”

“Ten years ago — when I joined Big Tech platforms — I thought they would be a force for good. I thought they would help us build relationships and promote transparency in Congress,” McMorris Rodgers said. “Today, Big Tech platforms are my biggest fear as a parent.”

She continued her condemnation by claiming that Facebook, Twitter, and Google have “broken my trust … because you’ve abused your power to manipulate and harm our children.”

McMorris Rodgers previously joined House Republicans to create the “Big Tech Accountability Program,” meant to call attention to how tech oligarchs and their products “hurt children,” “use algorithms to drive addiction,” and aid “in child grooming and trafficking.”

During last week’s hearing, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed reports the company is developing an Instagram-like app for children under 13, but that Facebook is “early in our thinking” in how an app for kids would work.

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