On Tuesday, following fierce calls from lawmakers, Instagram’s chief executive officer, Kevin Systrom, announced that he would sit down with leaders of Congress to testify. Adam Mosseri, who had been Instagram’s head of product, would be the first public face of the company to be called before Congress.
Under Mr. Systrom’s reign, Instagram—now with a user base of around 1.4 billion—has, in part, become a central communications platform for the young and diverse demographics that make up Instagram’s users. Instagram has fast become a rival to Twitter. Though it remains by far a smaller platform than Twitter, Instagram had a whopping 827 million users in the first quarter of this year—that’s 1 in 11 people on the planet. Its headcount is double the size of Twitter’s.
The Congressional inquiry into social media companies’ role in promoting Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election comes on the heels of Facebook’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this year. Facebook’s officials were critical of leaks from the company and made repeated promises to bolster its security team.
Representative Anna Eshoo, a Democrat who chairs the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, said in a statement: “Instagram has a responsibility to ensure the integrity of elections.”
Representative Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee, the chair of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology said: “I commend Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom for meeting with me and the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology to answer questions about Russian interference and its impact on our democracy.”