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Instagram will roll out a "take a break" feature that will "nudge" teens away from harmful content


According to Facebook vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg, Instagram will introduce new measures to steer teenagers away from harmful content and encourage them to "take a break" from the platform. Clegg made the comments on CNN's State of the Union show less than a week after Instagram whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress about internal research showing the app can harm young people's mental health.

"Where our systems see that a teenager is looking at the same content over and over again, and it's content that may not be conducive to their well-being, we'll nudge them to look at other content," Clegg said. In addition to postponing plans for an Instagram Kids platform and giving parents optional controls to supervise their children, he said the company planned to introduce a feature called "take a break," which would prompt teens to "just take a break from using Instagram."

Before a riot at the US Capitol building on January 6th, CNN host Dana Bash asked Clegg if Facebook's algorithm amplified or spread pro-insurgency voices. Clegg said he couldn't answer the question with a yes or no. Haugen is expected to meet with the committee investigating the attack on January 6th.

"Facebook's algorithms should be held to account, if necessary, by regulation," Clegg said, "so that people can match what our systems say they're supposed to do with what actually happens."

Following reporting from the Wall Street Journal based on internal documents provided by Haugen, Facebook has been under fire for several weeks. Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, testified before Congress on Tuesday about the company's internal research that found Instagram to be toxic, particularly for teen girls. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Facebook, refuted Haugen's claim, saying it was illogical for a company that relies on advertisers to promote content that makes people angry in order to make money.