GOP Lawmakers Press Social Media Giants for Answers on Children’s Mental Health

Republican lawmakers send a letter to social media giants to demand answers on their effects on children’s mental health.

Republicans from the Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to the social media giants Facebook, Google, and Twitter following their hearing last week with Big Tech CEOs.

The three letters were written by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), top Republican on the ranking member on Committee on Energy and Commerce, Rep. Robert Latta (R-OH), the top Republican on Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), top Republican on the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce, and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), the top Republican on the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

The letter outlined, at the hearing, the lawmakers who asked the CEOs about any internal research or studies from their companies that were conducting regarding the mental health of children. “We are interested in any documents, and related information regarding any internal research or study Twitter has conducted on the effect its products have on children’s mental health,” they wrote.

The lawmakers are curious about the impact their companies have on children under the age of 13, children between the ages of 13 and 18, in addition to young adults 18 and older.

Questions in the letters also asked the companies to provide any data they have conducted on any of their competitors’ products for children under the age of 13, children between the ages of 13 and 18, and young adults 18 and older.

The letter addressed to Sundar Pichai, Google’s CEO, asked for any data they have conducted on YouTube and YouTube kids.

The letter addressed to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, also asked about any data conducted on Instagram. There are currently plans to make a version of Instagram for children under 13.

According to the letter, the social media platforms were asked to respond by April 16, 2021.

“Your platforms are my biggest fear as a parent,” McMorris Rodgers said in the hearing. “Remember, our kids, the users, are the product. You — Big Tech — are not advocates for children. You exploit and profit off them.”

Jacob Bliss