Adam Mosseri, Facebook
Beck Diefenbach | Reuters
Adam Mosseri, the head of Facebook’s Instagram service, was criticized on Thursday after comparing the value of social networks to society to that of cars.
“We know that more people are dying than usual in car accidents, but in general cars create much more value in the world than they destroy,” Mosseri said in Recode Media’s podcast on Wednesday. “And I think social media is similar.”
The comments come after a series of reports from the Wall Street Journal this week based on internal Facebook files. A Tuesday report from the series reveals that Facebook has repeatedly found that its Instagram app is harmful to some teens. Among the findings was an internal presentation that said 32% of teenage girls said Instagram made them feel even worse when they felt bad about their bodies.
Following the report, US lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demanded answers from Facebook about the impact of its services on the mental health of teens and children, with some urging the company to support its plans to launch a children’s version of Instagram on Facebook. to give.
Mosseri’s comparison of Instagram to cars came after podcast host Peter Kafka asked the director whether the service should be discontinued or limited if there’s a chance it could actually harm people in the same way cigarettes could harm people.
“Absolutely not, and I really disagree with the comparison to drugs or cigarettes, which have very limited or no benefits,” Mosseri said. “Anything that will be widely used will have positive and negative results. Cars have positive and negative results.”
Numerous Twitter users criticized Mosseri for the comparison, pointing out that unlike social media, the auto industry is highly regulated. Among those critics was former Facebook CEO Brian Boland.
“We also have regulations and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for cars. Maybe @mosseri should read Unsafe at any speed?” Boland tweeted.
Kafka asked about all the regulations surrounding cars, to which Mosseri replied that he does believe that some regulation of social media is needed.
“We think you should be careful because regulation can create more problems,” Mosseri said in the podcast. “But I do think we’re a big enough industry that it’s important, and we need to develop it further.”
Mosseri took to the defense on Twitter after the wave of criticism, calling the car analogy “less than perfect,” but saying Facebook executives stick with the belief that social media connecting people does more good than bad.
“The headline culture — which yes, I know, social media contributed to — is exhausting,” Mosseri said Thursday morning between his series of tweets.