Anthony Albanese says ‘arrogant’ Meta should ‘confess’ that social media is harmful

Key points
  • Anthony Albanese calls the parent company of social media platforms Facebook and Instagram ‘arrogant’.
  • The company’s head of security told a parliamentary inquiry she did not believe social media was harmful to children.
  • According to Albanese, the companies had a “contemptuous attitude” towards parents’ concerns.
The prime minister said tech companies should “admit” the damage their platforms have caused, while also criticising “arrogant” and “alienated” social media giants.
Anthony Albanese’s comments come after Facebook and Instagram owner Meta told a parliamentary inquiry in Canberra that it did not believe social media was harmful to children.
“Meta shows how unworldly and arrogant they are,” Albanese told reporters on Saturday.

“Every parent knows that social media can have a damaging impact on young people’s mental health, on social exclusion, on bullying that can take place online and on grooming that can take place in dangerous ways online.”

Meta’s head of global security Antigone Davis was one of the tech bosses leading the Social Media and Australian Society inquiry in Canberra on Friday, where she was asked about the impact of social media on young people’s mental health.
“I don’t think social media has harmed our children,” she said via video conference. “Teen mental health issues are complex and multifactorial.”

Liberal MP Andrew Wallace told Davis at the inquiry: “You can’t take us seriously… when you say Meta products don’t harm young Australians”.

Davis also told the investigation that she does not think Facebook or Instagram should introduce age verification systems.

She said age restrictions should be handled by app stores and operating systems rather than social networks, warning that young people would try to circumvent strict rules.

Two people sit at a desk and look at their phones.  A blonde woman with red glasses stands on a screen behind them.

Meta’s global security chief Antigone Davis told a parliamentary inquiry that she does not think social media has “harmed our children”. Source: MONKEY / Lucas Koch

Albanese said the companies had shown a “disdainful attitude” towards parents’ concerns.

“That’s why parents, when they’re worried about the impact of social media, are desperate because they think these social media giants are saying, ‘there’s nothing to do here, no problem,’” Albanese told Weekend Sunrise.

“There is a problem and they must recognise their responsibility for social cohesion.”
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