Bulletins

Snap, YouTube and TikTok will share research on their impact on kids

Executives from the companies made the commitments during a Senate hearing on social media's impact on kids.

The Snapchat "ghost" logo displated on a smartphone screen

Snap had its first appearance before Congress Tuesday.

Photo: Thought Catalog/Unsplash

Executives from Snap and TikTok testified for the first time before Congress on Tuesday during a hearing on keeping kids safe online. As part of the hearing, both companies, as well as YouTube, agreed to share internal research with Congress about their platforms' impact on kids.


In the wake of whistleblower Frances Haugen's Facebook Papers leaks, Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal asked policy executives from Snap, TikTok and YouTube whether they have conducted internal research on their platforms' impact on kids' mental health, similar to the research Facebook conducted.

Jen Stout, Snap's head of global policy, said the company has conducted research, which has found "95% of users say that Snapchat makes them happy." She committed to sharing that research with the committee. Michael Beckerman, TikTok's head of public policy, also said the company works with external researchers to study the platform and nodded when asked whether he'd commit to sharing that research. And Leslie Miller, YouTube's vice president of government affairs, said the company has shared research and will continue to do so.

"We'll look forward to receiving it within days or weeks, not months," Blumenthal said.

The problem, of course, is that Congress will have to take these companies' word on the fact that the research they're sharing is complete. Facebook has repeatedly shared stats on its impact on kids — but it wasn't until after the Wall Street Journal got its hands on Haugen's documents that it became clear there were other stats they weren't sharing.

As long as companies are determining what data to release and how, the picture will always be incomplete.

Latest Bulletins

The Meta Oversight Board is in the process of reviewing cross-check, Meta's controversial system of vetting posts by high-profile users. On Thursday, the Oversight Board opened that review up to public comments.

Keep Reading Show less

Meta has partnered with a U.K. nonprofit to launch a tool that allows people to create unique identifiers — known as hashes — of sexually explicit or nude photos and submit those hashes to a nonprofit database. Tech platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, can then use that database to detect whether that specific photo has been posted or shared.

Keep Reading Show less

Facebook Protect, a program to protect groups that hackers are more likely to target, will expand to include more categories of users, Meta, the social network's parent company, said Thursday.

Meta will require users in these groups, such as activists, journalists, and government officials, to enroll in the program to continue using Facebook. The company said it will give users access to stronger security protections such as two-factor authentication and monitoring for hacking threats.

Users in the specified categories will be prompted to enroll in Facebook Protect, and the company plans to “carefully expand” this requirement in the coming months.

“These people are at the center of critical communities for public debate,” the company said in a blog post. “Unfortunately this also means that they are highly targeted by bad actors.”

Amid ongoing calls for more transparency from tech platforms, Meta announced Wednesday that it will begin opening up an archive of content it has removed to researchers around the world. The archive, which was built with CrowdTangle, will include posts removed under the company's policy against coordinated inauthentic behavior, a policy that was created largely in response to the propaganda campaign engineered by Russia's Internet Research Agency leading up to the 2016 election.

Keep Reading Show less

Since Amazon launched its AWS machine learning platform SageMaker four years ago, the company has banked on the idea that more and more businesses will want to develop ML-based systems without having to get their hands too dirty. In its quest to create tools that make ML easier to build and deploy — even for business users who aren’t engineers or data scientists — Amazon unveiled a slew of new features in its SageMaker suite during this week’s annual re:Invent show.

“We need to lower the bar for adopting of ML,” said Swami Sivasubramanian, vice president of Amazon AI, during a keynote talk Wednesday morning.

Keep Reading Show less

Payments company Square has changed its corporate name to Block in an indication of its potential to go all-in on cryptocurrencies.

Keep Reading Show less

Capital One is dropping overdraft fees for consumer banking customers, the bank said Wednesday.

Big banks have been cutting back consumer fees as they face pressure from both startup neobanks as well as Washington regulators.

Keep Reading Show less

TikTok is rolling out new features to help creators make money, according to a company blog post published Wednesday. The newly announced Creator Next program expands the way creators can be compensated for their work, allowing viewers to send gifts and tips to their favorite creators.

Keep Reading Show less

SpaceX, the high-flying launch company that broke a $100 billion valuation just months ago, could be in big financial trouble, according to its top executive.

Keep Reading Show less

Epic is making its hit game Fortnite less about firearms and more about self-expression and socializing. It launched a new game format that looks like it inches Epic closer to the sought-after metaverse so many tech and gaming firms keep going on about.

Keep Reading Show less

Reddit is allowing users to see when others are typing, commenting and reading their posts in real time, the company announced Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less

The barrage of robocalls is about to get worse with a new frontier of attack: social media accounts. As if social media didn't have enough problems, a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rule has gone into effect that allows debt collectors to reach out to people on Twitter, Instagram or wherever else they have online social accounts, as long as the DMs are private.

Keep Reading Show less

With only days of voting remaining ahead of the winter recess, executives from dozens of companies that make or rely on semiconductors sent a letter to Congressional leadership Wednesday urging them to pass legislation tied to billions in subsidies for the U.S. chips industry.

Keep Reading Show less

Twitter will reopen its San Francisco and New York offices on Monday, the company confirmed to Protocol.

Keep Reading Show less

Salesforce has promoted Bret Taylor to co-CEO and vice chair of its board, the company announced Tuesday.

Taylor will work alongside Marc Benioff, the company’s current CEO, chairman and co-founder. Before his promotion, Taylor served as president and COO of the company for two years. He joined Salesforce in 2016 when Quip, a software startup he founded alongside Kevin Gibbs, was acquired by Salesforce. Taylor quickly rose to power in the company, serving as its chief product officer between 2017 and 2019 before becoming COO.

Keep Reading Show less

A new body inside the U.K. Cabinet Office — the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) — has taken a step toward creating more transparency around the algorithmic tech government agencies use. It unveiled an algorithmic transparency standard on Nov. 29 in conjunction with the country’s National Data Strategy and National AI Strategy.

Keep Reading Show less

The Shanghai Data Exchange, open for trading as of Nov. 25, is China’s latest effort to facilitate data transactions between companies.

Keep Reading Show less

It took Wall Street a long time to embrace cloud computing, but Goldman Sachs is making up for that delay in a big way, launching a new cloud service of its own for financial clients that was designed and built with help from AWS.

Keep Reading Show less

David Marcus, the leader of Meta’s financial technology unit Novi, will leave his role after seven years with the company, he announced on Twitter Tuesday.

Keep Reading Show less

AWS launched its Arm-powered Graviton3 data center chip Tuesday at its annual re:Invent conference, promising a 25% boost to performance compared with the prior version.

Keep Reading Show less

Virtual homes, land and shops in metaverses are quickly becoming hot-ticket items for investment firms.

Republic Realm, a metaverse real estate firm, paid $4.3 million for a plot of land in virtual world Sandbox, representing the largest public virtual real-estate deal to date, the company told The Wall Street Journal. The company purchased the virtual plot from video game company Atari.

Keep Reading Show less

Google has been ordered to produce more than 70 documents related to "Project Vivian," a strategy plan reportedly intended to prevent union organizing inside the company, according to Vice.

Keep Reading Show less

Twitter announced Tuesday that sharing private photos and videos of people without their consent will now be a violation of the company's private information policy, which already forbids sharing things like contact information and identity documents.

Keep Reading Show less

Coinbase is buying security firm Unbound Security in a move that also establishes the crypto company’s presence in Israel, the company said Tuesday.

Keep Reading Show less

The United Kingdom's Competition and Markets Authority announced Tuesday it would require Meta, formerly known as Facebook, to sell Giphy over competitive concerns.

Keep Reading Show less