Senator Richard Blumenthal asked a senior Facebook executive Thursday if the company would do so Commitment to terminate ‘Finsta’ – apparently unaware of the true meaning of the term.
Blumenthal (D-Conn.) questioned Facebook’s global head of safety Antigone Davis as part of a Senate committee hearing that followed a hearing The Wall Street Journal report That the company’s internal research has found that its Instagram platform makes “body image issues worse for one in three teenage girls”.
There were several seconds of silence before Davis answered.
She began, “Senator, again, let me explain to you.” “We don’t actually do it – we don’t actually do Finsta.
“What ‘finsta’ indicates is that young people create accounts where they may want to have more privacy,” she continued. “I referred to it as privacy from their parents. In my interactions with teens, what I have found is that sometimes they like to have an account where they can only interact with a smaller group of friends.”
Blumenthal, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on consumer protection, product safety and data security, pressed Davis at the end of the three-hour hearing.
“Well, ‘Vista’ is one of your products or services,” Blumenthal said. “We’re not talking about Google or Apple, it’s Facebook, are we?”
Davis replied, “Finsta is slang for some sort of account.”
“Well, are you going to finish this kind of calculation?” Blumenthal asked again.
After a pause, Davis admitted, “I’m not sure I understand exactly what you’re asking. What I can say is that based on what we’ve seen with teens using these types of accounts, we’ve actually given them additional privacy options to address these kinds of issues, where they want more of privacy so they can have more aggregate.”
“Well, I don’t think that’s an answer to my question,” Blumenthal said after a few seconds of silence before the session concluded.
Congressional hearings sometimes involving tech companies have seen middle-aged and older lawmakers sometimes struggle to keep up. One such moment came in 2018, when Sen was then. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) asked Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, “How do you maintain a business model where users don’t pay for your service?”
Zuckerberg replied, “Senator.” We run ads.