City Councilman Joe Buscaino Tuesday introduced a motion to have the city divest from Facebook, citing privacy concerns and correlations with depression and anxiety.
“Facebook was built to bring us closer together, but it is tearing our world apart,” Buscaino said in a statement.
“Despite knowing that using their platform leads to deteriorating mental health in kids and teens, Facebook continues to focus their efforts on bringing pre-teens and teens to their platform. This is one of many reasons why the city of Los Angeles should divest itself from Facebook.”
The motion was seconded by Council President Nury Martinez, Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez and Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Paul Koretz.
It calls for the city’s three pension fund systems, along with any other city investment entity, to divest from Facebook.
The motion cites an internal Instagram presentation that said that 32% of teen girls say that when they have felt badly about their bodies, the feeling was exacerbated by Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
“Instagram makes body image issues worse for one in three girls; teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression. These assertions have been proven by Facebook’s in-house analysts,” the motion said.
Buscaino also expressed concerns about privacy in his motion, citing media reports that found the platform collects personal information online from children under the age of 13.
Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, on Tuesday testified before Congress after already releasing documents that showed the company was aware of the problems that Facebook and Instagram have caused, including the effects on teenage girls.
Facebook, which did not immediately respond to City News Service, tweeted a statement through its spokesperson Andy Stone following Haugen’s testimony, saying, “We don’t agree with her characterization of the many issues she testified about. Despite all this, we agree on one thing; it’s time to begin to create standard rules for the internet.”