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October 08, 2021

Following Bombshell Testimony by Facebook Whistleblower, Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Invite Social Media Platforms to Discuss Impact of Social Media on the Mental Health of Young Americans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 08, 2021

Contact: Sasha Galbreath, sasha.galbreath@mail.house.gov

Following Bombshell Testimony by Facebook Whistleblower, Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Invite Social Media Platforms to Discuss Impact of Social Media on the Mental Health of Young Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman David Trone (D-MD), along with the Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force and the Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus, invited the leaders of the major social media platforms, including Facebook and Snapchat, to discuss their companies’ impact on the mental health of teenagers and young adults. Trone was joined by Reps. Annie Kuster (D-NH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), David B. McKinley, P.E. (R-WV), Paul Tonko (D-NY), and Dave Joyce (R-OH). 

The letter comes on the heels of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. Haugen testified that Facebook knowingly allows for the spread of misinformation and content that harms children. Haugen alleges that Facebook refuses to make changes that could help young people, but hurt its bottom line.

Studies and recent reports show the profound impact of social media on young peoples’ self-esteem and mental health. In fact, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, 32% percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse. 

The lawmakers hope a discussion with the companies will help develop solutions to these pressing issues.

In the letter, the lawmakers wrote, “We hope that our discussion will give us feedback into the approaches we can take to help prevent and ultimately curb any of the negative mental health concerns on adolescent and teenage social media users.”

The full text of the letter is below and attached:

The Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force is composed of over 130 Members of Congress dedicated to addressing the addiction and mental health crises facing our nation. Its goals are to hear from experts through discussions and events, shine a light on these issues to increase awareness and fight stigma, and push for the enactment of meaningful policy solutions to save lives and livelihoods.

The Congressional Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus educates and raises awareness among lawmakers about addiction prevention and treatment and substance abuse. Preventing the further spread of this epidemic is essential to our nation’s complete recovery.  The Addiction, Treatment and Recovery Caucus aims to stop these devastating trends by bringing awareness to this cause and changing the stigma associated with addiction and mental illness.

Congressman David Trone was elected to the House of Representatives in November 2018 to serve the 6th District of Maryland, which includes all or part of Montgomery, Frederick, Washington, Allegany, and Garrett Counties. Trone serves on the Appropriations Committee in the 117th Congress and previously served on the Education and Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Joint Economic Committees. In Congress, Trone is fighting to make progress on issues that matter to Marylanders, including the opioid epidemic, criminal justice reform, and funding for medical research.

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