Sen. Blumenthal asks Facebook executive to ‘commit to ending finsta’

by Susan Ryant

I’m not the hippest, coolest person around, but there’s one thing I do try to keep up with, and that’s the slang used by garbage youths and/or popular AAVE. I love language and the evolution of modern languages, and I get a kick out of learning what “finna” and “turnt” and “deadass” mean. I’m constantly checking with Google and the Urban Dictionary to make sure I’m getting it right. So… while I probably learned what a Finsta is years after people started using the term, I have known what a Finsta is for a while. Plainly said, Finsta is a fake-Instagram. You have your main Insta account for your official sh-t and then you have a fake Insta to lurk, to troll, to post sh-t you don’t necessarily want your friends, families and work colleagues to see.

Finstas are not the problem with social media today. I mean, maybe they are one of the minor problems, but there’s probably never going to be a Presidential Commission on Finstas. However, there was a Senate Commerce subcommittee hearing on mental health issues related to social media, and Facebook’s head of global safety, Antigone Davis, appeared via video conference to answer questions. One of the questions from the sub-committee’s chairman, Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal, was about… finsta. I cannot.

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) had a moment of questionable tech aptitude in a hearing held to question Facebook officials on Thursday. Facebook’s global head of safety, Antigone Davis, beamed into the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security for a hearing on revelations that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, has a negative psychological impact on young people. The hearing also focused on reporting that the company knew about that impact.

Blumenthal serves as chairman of the subcommittee, and at one point in the hearing, he asked Davis with a straight face: “Will you commit to ending finsta?”

The problem: Finsta isn’t a product Facebook and Instagram actually provides.

Davis informed Blumenthal “we don’t actually do finsta,” and she proceeded to explain the term.

“But finsta is one of your products or services,” Blumenthal countered. Davis enlightened him of the term again, so the senator once again asked “will you end that type of account?”

Davis responded to that by saying Facebook allows finstas options that provide users greater levels of privacy.

[From Mediaite]

Here’s the thing, the subcommittee actually had and has important work to do, and this is a HUGE issue, how social media affects mental health in children and teens. And this kind of screwup – and it was a screwup – will divert attention away from the real subject. The real subject is: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter know their product is addictive and harmful and they know that there should be enormous limits on how much access kids have to social media. And Facebook is a bad actor when it comes to misinformation and the promotion of harmful stories and advertising, and that’s also where the focus should have been. I hate that Blumenthal’s staff made him seem incompetent. All of these senators need some garbage youths on staff to help them understand how social media works and what all of the slang means. Billie Eilish should deadass go to the Senate and conduct a seminar.

Photo courtesy of Getty.