Prime minister says ‘arrogant’ tech companies must ‘fess up’ about social media harms

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun29,2024
Key Points
  • Anthony Albanese has called the parent company of social media platforms Facebook and Instagram “arrogant”.
  • The company’s head of safety told a parliamentary inquiry she didn’t believe social media had harmed children.
  • Albanese said the companies had shown a “contemptuous attitude” towards the concerns of parents.
Tech bosses need to “fess up” for the damage their platforms have caused, the prime minister says, while taking aim at the “arrogant” and “out of touch” social media giants.
Anthony Albanese’s comments come after Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, told a parliamentary inquiry in Canberra it didn’t think social media had harmed children.
“Meta are showing how out of touch they are and how arrogant they are,” Albanese told reporters on Saturday.

“Every parent knows social media can have a damaging impact on the mental health of young people, on social exclusion, on the bullying that can occur online, on grooming that can occur in a dangerous way online as well.”

Meta’s head of global safety Antigone Davis was one of the tech bosses to front the social media and Australian society inquiry in Canberra on Friday, where she was asked about social media’s impact on young people’s mental health.
“I don’t think social media has done harm to our children,” she said, via video conference. “Issues of teen mental health are complex and multifactorial.”

Liberal MP Andrew Wallace told Davis during the inquiry: “You can’t be taken seriously … when you say that Meta products aren’t harming young Australians”.

Davis also told the inquiry she did not think Facebook or Instagram should launch age-verification systems.

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

Two people sitting at a desk looking into their phones. A blonde woman with red glasses is on a screen behind them.

Meta’s global head of safety Antigone Davis told a parliamentary inquiry she doesn’t think social media “has done harm to our children”. Source: AAP / Lukas Coch

Albanese said the companies had shown a “contemptuous attitude” towards the concerns of parents.

“That’s why when parents are concerned about the impact of social media they’ll be despairing about these social media giants saying ‘nothing to see here, no problem’,” Albanese told Weekend Sunrise.

“There is a problem and they need to fess up to their responsibility for social cohesion.”
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Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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