So: Social platforms are addictive and often harmful. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, told the Journal “Facebook seems to be taking a page from the textbook of Big Tobacco — targeting teens with potentially dangerous products while masking the science in public.”
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican, tweeted “Big Tech has become the new Big Tobacco. Facebook is lying about how their product harms teens.”
This was a very big week for the Journal. Is there more reporting work to do? Definitely. My sense is the series has given the newsroom a jolt of inspiration, and this may not be the Journal’s last word on the Facebook Files.
Facebook’s new response
There was no rebuttal from the company on his show.
Clegg deplored what he called the “impugning” of Facebook’s motives. Perhaps responding to some observers’ concerns the company will stop doing internal research since some of it was leaked to the Journal, Clegg said, “We will continue to invest in research into these serious and complex issues. We will continue to ask ourselves the hard questions. And we will continue to improve our products and services as a result.”
He also seemed to address the comparisons of Facebook to Big Tobacco. “The truth is that research into the impact social media has on people is still relatively nascent and evolving, and social media itself is changing rapidly,” he said.