Former Meta employee 'doesn’t think tech giant cares' if more young lives are lost due to social media

A former Meta director has said he doesn’t think the tech giant cares if more young lives are lost due to posts on its social media platforms.

Whistleblower Arturo Bejar said the Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp owner’s experts could easily stop ­recommending harmful content to youngsters, but choose not to.

He said if Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg decided to make Instagram “as free of ­self-harm content as we can make it, then it would happen within a few months”.

Bejar was Meta’s director of engineering between 2009 and 2015 and a contractor between 2019 and 2021.

He said: “They created this product that billions of people use, that opens in milliseconds and gives you a personally curated list of things that they think you’ll find interesting.

“Don’t tell me that company cannot make it so you can’t find a choking challenge or that you don’t recommend grim content to a 13-year-old.”

Asked if he thinks Meta cares if more people die because of harm they encounter on their platforms, he said: “I think they don’t. That is hard for me to say, but I just go by their actions.”

Bejar has met Ian Russell, dad of Molly, 14, who took her own life after viewing harmful content on ­Instagram.

He said the company should have invited Ian, who wants the Online Safety Bill strengthened, to discuss “what we can do so this doesn’t happen again”. Béjar, left, said: “That’s the responsible thing to do.”

Meta’s Andy Stone said: “We strongly disagree with Mr Bejar’s assertions.

“We are deeply committed to helping keep teens safe online and have developed more than 50 tools and features to do just that.”

Meta is proposing a framework for federal legislation in the US that would require parents to control under-16s’ downloads from the App store.

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