In response to recent testimony indicating that Facebook was aware that its platforms were harming children, the company is now introducing several new features that it said will reduce the risk of kids and teenagers accessing harmful content.
The features Facebook introduced include forcing kids to take a break from using Instagram and another feature helps "nudge" teens from repeatedly looking at content that might not be conducive to their mental well-being.
Facebook is also planning to introduce new controls that will allow parents and guardians to supervise their kids' activities on its platforms. The company did not provide any other details about the projects. Some critics say the new features may be too little, too late.
Facebook also unveiled new controls designed to prevent the spread of harmful content and misinformation. The company also plans to hire more people to review and improve its operations.
Facebook's vice president for global affairs, Nick Clegg, said that the company is constantly working to improve its products to make them safer and more enjoyable to use. He said Facebook has already spent $13 billion to make sure that the platform is safe. However, he added that Facebook was still open to more regulation and oversight.
Facebook should be held accountable for its actions, Clegg agreed during a recent interview. He added that the company should also be regulated to ensure that people can easily identify what its systems are supposed to do.
Facebook's public relations team recently pushed back against allegations made by Frances Haugen, a former employee who accused the company of failing to protect children and prevent the spread of hate speech and misinformation.
Haugen backed up her claims with thousands of pages of internal documents she copied from the company. Haugen, who went before Congress last week, said Facebook was aware that its platforms were harming teens but it neglected to make any changes when presented with the fact.
Josh Golin, the director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said introducing controls to help parents supervise their children's use of social media would not be effective as they can set up secret accounts. He said "nudging" teens away from harmful content would also likely be ineffective.
Golin said that despite the company's efforts to improve its algorithms, it still has a long way to go in addressing the concerns of regulators. He added that Facebook should be more transparent in explaining its plans, while also showing research on how effective these new measures are in protecting children's well-being.