News & Politics

Klobuchar Goes After Conservatives Amid Facebook Whistleblower Scandal

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool

Senator Richard Blumenthal kicked off the fun at today’s Facebook whistleblower hearing, stating that it was Facebook’s “Big Tobacco moment.” He went on to suggest that Facebook and Instagram will face the music for knowingly allowing harmful content, especially to young teens.

Here are the major takeaways from today’s hearing:

  • Like Big Tobacco, Facebook knows its product is dangerous to society but doesn’t care because the company only focuses on profits.
  • The senators and the witness, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, didn’t wear masks. Everyone else did except for one other man after the 11:30 break.
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar somehow managed to conflate “13% of teen girls on Instagram feeling suicidal” and “the January 6 insurrection” in her first minute. She would mention January 6 again before her time was up.
  • Some senators ducked out for a vote and didn’t come back. Wow, that’s some serious concern.

Haugen stated several times that Facebook ignores its own data showing negative reactions to social media–including suicide, anorexia, and civil unrest in Ethiopia–in order to increase profits. She also mentioned that Facebook makes $40 billion per year.

“Facebook profits were more important than the pain they caused.”

-Sen. Blumenthal

Much of the hearing was spent discussing the negative impact of Instagram and Facebook on young girls. Facebook’s own research shows that 66% of young teens girls suffer from “negative social comparison.” In other words, “prettier” girls get more “likes” and comments on photos, leading to depression, suicidal thoughts, and anorexia. A majority of these girls are 14 years old.

Related: Don’t Be Distracted by the Facebook ‘Whistleblower’

Blumenthal mentioned data showing kids on Facebook face a new type of bullying, the type that follows them home and into their bedrooms. Some kids are bullied at school, read it on Facebook before going to bed, and read about it first thing in the morning.

Haugen strongly suggested that social media should not be allowed to target children for advertising.

FACT-O-RAMA! Facebook doesn’t allow users under 13 years old, yet it recently purged 600,000 accounts belonging to kids younger than 13. Weird, right?

When asked, Haugen repeatedly stated that Zuckerberg hides behind algorithms and artificial intelligence for doing his dirty work, especially regarding ad targeting. She also stated, twice, that understanding how algorithms work is difficult.

Several senators also pointed out that Zuckerberg was sailing on the day of the hearing.

Freedom of Speech

Klobuchar asked Haugen about keeping “misinformation about vaccines” off of Facebook but failed to mention that Facebook routinely blocks anything, including Project Veritas videos, that challenges the Democrats’ narrative on the vax jab. Is she really looking to just clamp down even more on conservative voices on Facebook?

Credit Kevin Downey Jr.

Not everyone is buying  Haugen’s “whistleblower” role.

Question of the day: What will Democrats really do to Zuckerberg, who helped Biden “win” key swing states in 2020 by donating hundreds of millions of dollars? Nothing. Was this hearing about keeping kids safe from the evils of social media, or was it about cracking down on conservative opinions on Facebook?