Facebook VP: Comparisons to Big Tobacco ‘extremely misleading’
Facebook’s vice president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said on Sunday that lawmakers’ comparisons between the social media giant and Big Tobacco are “extremely misleading.”
Host George Stephanopoulos asked Clegg on ABC’s “This Week” how much the comparisons worried him.
“Well, I think it’s extremely misleading analogy. Of course, we’re not,” Clegg said.
“We’re a social media app that many, many people around the world use because it brings utility, it helps small businesses, it brings joy, it brings pleasure, it connects to you with people you care and love the most,” he added. “That’s what Facebook is about.”
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 10, 2021
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) alleged during a hearing late last month that Facebook was using “big tobacco’s playbook.”
“It has hidden its own research on addiction, and the toxic effects of its products. It has attempted to deceive the public and us in Congress about what it knows and it has weaponized childhood vulnerabilities against children themselves,” Blumenthal said at the time.
“Instagram is that first childhood cigarette meant to get teens hooked early, exploiting the peer pressure of popularity and ultimately endangering their health,” Sen. Ed Markey, (D-Mass) concurred during the hearing, according to CNBC.
The lawmakers’ comments followed a series by The Wall Street Journal that found, among other revelations, that the social media platform knew that Instagram was harmful to its younger users. A former Facebook employee testified about the revelations last week.
“I sometimes think you get some somewhat sort of overblown and somewhat simplistic analogies and caricatures,” Clegg said on Sunday.
“But I think if there’s any silver lining to this week is that maybe we can now move beyond the slogans, the sound bites, the simplistic caricatures and actually look at solutions and, yes — and, of course, regulation,” he added.