Arturo Bejar, a former Facebook engineering director and consultant, testified before a Senate subcommittee, accusing Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, of ignoring warnings about the harm its platforms cause to teenagers. Bejar claimed that Meta’s top executives, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, disregarded evidence of harm internally while publicly presenting metrics designed to downplay the issue.
Bejar, who is the latest whistleblower to come forward, described Meta’s culture as one of “see no evil, hear no evil,” highlighting that the company overlooked the harm it knew its platforms were causing. He testified that his attempts to communicate concerns to Zuckerberg and other Meta leaders in the fall of 2021, based on research his team had conducted on teen experiences, were met with no response.
His testimony followed a report by The Wall Street Journal that detailed many of Bejar’s allegations, including his motivation to study the issue after his 14-year-old daughter received unwanted sexual advances from strangers on Instagram. Bejar cited statistics from his research indicating that over 25% of 13-to-15-year-olds reported receiving unwanted sexual advances on Instagram. He emphasized the unacceptability of such incidents and stated that his work had shown that it didn’t have to be this way.
The hearing once again placed Meta in the spotlight, with Congress expressing bipartisan concerns about the impact of social media platforms on mental health and the safety of young users. Meta has introduced parental controls to manage children’s interactions and screen time on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, but criticisms and regulatory scrutiny persist.
Arturo Bejar’s testimony follows Frances Haugen’s revelations as another whistleblower who disclosed internal documents suggesting that Instagram was aware of the potential harm it was causing to children.