October 07, 2021
This week may just be a turning point.
For anyone who has followed the unfolding and explosive stories surrounding Facebook over the past few weeks, you’ll know that this week was stunning - perhaps just stunning enough to drive real change.
Here’s a quick recap for those who are catching up. In mid-September, the Wall Street Journal unveiled an investigation based on a trove of leaked internal documents from Facebook. The resulting multi-story series, called The Facebook Files, details in stunning clarity just how much Facebook knows about the harms it causes, as well as its repeated decisions to take no action.
“Time and again, the documents show, Facebook’s researchers have identified the platform’s ill effects,” the WSJ report begins. “Time and again, despite congressional hearings, its own pledges and numerous media exposés, the company didn’t fix them.”
Last week the 6th installment of the report came out, revealing Facebook’s plans to expand its services to target more engagement from children as the new frontier. In the midst of the backlash Facebook announced it would pause controversial plans to develop Instagram Kids.
And finally, on October 5, former Facebook employee turned whistleblower, Frances Haugen, testified before Congress. “The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer,” she told leaders on Capitol Hill, “but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people.”
It’s what we’ve known all along, and yet somehow it’s still shocking to see. We live in a world where tech giants have infiltrated our lives, made us the product and are systematically prioritizing profits over the safety of kids and the wellbeing of families.
In the midst of these revelations, we’re thrilled to have the voice of COSMO’s Founder and CEO Russell York featured in national publications and raising awareness for what families need.
“Machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data have manifested an algorithmic intelligence that is trying to understand and manipulate us at our core,” York wrote in the San Diego Union Tribune. “Whoever is holding the attention of a child is molding that child.”
In an op-ed featured in both digital and print on October 7, York said,
“Facebook has referred to its moves to reach younger audiences as ‘big bets,’ and using gambling as a metaphor seems more than appropriate...for your kids, the concern is an afterthought to conquest. Facebook has again seen profit as primary over protecting kids. Or maybe it’s just worth the gamble.”
These are the issues that are critical for families to understand. One COSMO family recently put it this way: “When it comes to technology in the home, it can feel like all or nothing.” Does it feel that way to you? If so, you’re sure not alone. For too long, that’s been true, and it’s not by accident but by design.
Recently, we wrote about the Family-First Tech Revolution and this week turned a spark into a roaring flame.
It’s an outcry from parents, educators, health experts and more who are raising the alarm and saying enough is enough. In the Washington Times, York wrote:
“As a society, we have to start asking ourselves what we want for the future of connection and who should be the broker. As the Founder and CEO of a family technology company, I spend a lot of time thinking about what tech can - and can’t - do for families. And also, how so much of our “solutions” today undercut parents. Let’s be clear - the technology itself isn’t the enemy. It’s the insatiable data hoarding, profiling algorithms that drive the business model of Big Tech companies like Facebook and put kids in the cross hairs.”
We believe that the answer lies with all of us: consumers who do have a choice to demand something better, and companies that choose to put family first. At COMSO, we’re more committed than ever to standing with families who are looking for safer, better ways to stay connected without compromise. That’s the whole reason we created the JrTrack 2 kids smart watch - so your family can choose the right solution at the right time.
Read all of our CEO’s commentary below:
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