Maryland rep deactivates Facebook, Instagram until reforms are enacted

Maryland rep deactivates Facebook, Instagram until reforms are enacted
© Greg Nash

Rep. C.A. Dutch RuppersbergerCharles (Dutch) Albert RuppersbergerMaryland Democrats target lone Republican in redistricting scheme Hillicon Valley — Facebook launches rebranding campaign Maryland rep deactivates Facebook, Instagram until reforms are enacted MORE (D-Md.) announced on Wednesday that he plans to deactivate his Facebook and Instagram accounts until Facebook, which owns both social media platforms, and Congress "make substantial reforms that protect our children, health and democratic values."

Ruppersberger cited the recent "disturbing whistleblower reports" that show that Facebook's own internal research indicates that it is harming democracy by amplifying misinformation and hate speech, as well as negatively affecting the mental health of teenagers. 

“Facebook’s basic business model sows division and disinformation and I can no longer use it — and promote it from my official mediums — in good conscience for the time being,” Ruppersberger said. “While Facebook must do better to police themselves, Congress must also act and pass reasonable social media reforms. I look forward to learning more about what we can do to promote change and supporting legislation to that effect.”

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The congressman posted his decision on his Twitter account Wednesday. 

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen has during multiple interviews and appearances before U.S. and foreign lawmakers painted a damning portrait of the platform's efforts at reform and handling misinformation.

“Facebook should not get a free pass on choices it makes to prioritize growth and virality and reactiveness over public safety. They shouldn’t get a free pass on that because they're paying for their profits right now with our safety,” Haugen told senators at a hearing earlier this month.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have pledged to take action against the social media giant after Haugen first began leaking internal documents to The Wall Street Journal.