Senators demand documents from Meta on social media harm to children

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows Instagram logo

(Reuters) - A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has written to Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding documents about its research into the harm to children from its social media platforms.

A whistleblower's release of documents in 2021 showed Meta knew Instagram, which began as a photo-sharing app, was addictive and worsened body image issues for some teen girls.

"Members of Congress have repeatedly asked Meta for information on its awareness of threats to young people on its platforms and the measures that it has taken, only to be stonewalled and provided non-responsive or misleading information," the senators wrote in a letter.

The letter follows a hearing with a new whistleblower last week and after a newly unsealed complaint filed by the Massachusetts Attorney General, the senators said.

Newly unsealed disclosures suggest Meta executives' direct knowledge of the harm related to its products and concealment from Congress and the public, supporting former executive Arturo Béjar's testimony to a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, according to the senators.

Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Dozens of U.S. states are also suing Meta and its Instagram unit, accusing them of fueling a youth mental health crisis by making their social media platforms addictive.

(Reporting by Akash Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)