Wednesday, October 20, 2021
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Facing backlash over proprietary, Facebook brings new features to check kids from using platform

The California-based tech giant is also planning to introduce new controls for adults of teens on an optional basis so that parents or guardians can supervise what their teens are doing online

Facing global criticism over its platform being used to harm children, technology major Facebook has announced to introduce several features including prompting teens to take a break using its photo-sharing app Instagram, and ‘nudging’ teens if they are repeatedly looking at the same content that’s not conducive to their well-being.

The California-based tech giant is also planning to introduce new controls for adults of teens on an optional basis so that parents or guardians can supervise what their teens are doing online. These initiatives come after Facebook announced late last month that it was pausing work on its Instagram for Kids project. But critics say the plan lacks details and they are skeptical that the new features would be effective.

The new controls were outlined by Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs, who made the rounds on various Sunday news shows including CNN’s “State of the Union” and ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” where he was grilled about Facebook’s use of algorithms as well as its role in spreading harmful misinformation ahead of the January 6 Capitol riots.

According to Clegg, Facebook has invested $13 billion over the past few years in making sure to keep the platform safe and that the company has 40,000 people working on these issues.

This comes after whistleblower Frances Haugen, a former data scientist with Facebook, went before Congress last week to accuse the social media platform of failing to make changes to Instagram after internal research showed apparent harm to some teens and of being dishonest in its public fight against hate and misinformation.

Haugen’s accusations were supported by tens of thousands of pages of internal research documents she secretly copied before leaving her job in the company’s civic integrity unit.

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