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Facebook Adds New Parental Controls, Child Safety Advocates Skeptical: ‘The Time for Action Is Now’

Facebook Adds New Parental Controls, Child Safety Advocates Skeptical: ‘The Time for Action Is Now’

By Movieguide® Staff

After Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen released internal documents that showed that the big tech company harms children, the social media platform announced new features that will allegedly encourage teenagers to get off the app. 

Facebook and Instagram, notorious for their business models designed to keep their users engaged, said that the apps will now “nudge” users to remind them to take a break from social media. 

In addition, the company said that they are adding new controls for adults to help parents supervise what their children are doing on social media platforms. 

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs, outlined the company’s efforts to improve. 

“We are constantly iterating in order to improve our products,” Clegg told Dana Bash on STATE OF THE UNION. “We cannot, with a wave of the wand, make everyone’s life perfect. What we can do is improve our products, so that our products are as safe and as enjoyable to use.”

Clegg said that Facebook had invested $13 billion to ensure the safety of its user. However, Clegg recognized the company’s lack of accountability brought up by Haugen before congress. 

“We need greater transparency,” Clegg told CNN, adding that Facebook should be held accountable so that “people can match what our systems say they’re supposed to do from what actually happens.”

Despite Facebook vocalizing various efforts to dispel claims by Haugen and others in regards to online safety, child safety advocates and other media watchdogs are skeptical that Facebook will uphold their alleged amendments to their platform. 

Josh Golin, executive director of Fairplay, a watchdog for the children and media marketing industry, noted that more parental controls mean little when most underage accounts are set up in secret. 

“There is tremendous reason to be skeptical,” Golin said

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota told CNN: “I appreciate that he is willing to talk about things, but I believe the time for conversation is done. The time for action is now.”

Movieguide® previously reported

Although Facebook has introduced video and online ads that support the change of privacy laws and Section 230, Haugen said that they are disingenuous and that they will “not get to the core of the issue.”

“Facebook wants to trick you into thinking that privacy protections or changes to Section 230 alone will be sufficient,” she said. “While important, they will not get to the core of the issue, which is that no one truly understands the destructive traits of Facebook except for Facebook.”

“We can afford nothing less than full transparency,” she added. “As long as Facebook is operating in the shadows, hiding its research from public scrutiny, it is unaccountable. Until the incentives change, Facebook will not change. Left alone, Facebook will continue to make choices that go against the common good, our common good.”

“They cannot protect us from the harms that they know are in their own systems,” she continued.