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Facebook reportedly doing 'reputational reviews' on features, products amid criticism

The social media platform is slowing the rollout of new products after a recent backlash, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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Facebook reportedly plans to pause launching Instagram for Kids. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Facebook is reportedly carrying out "reputational reviews" to address criticism over new features and products. The move comes after Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager who leaked thousands of internal documents about the company, on Tuesday told US lawmakers that the social network's products "harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy." 

Company executives are pausing updates to current products and slowing the rollout of new ones while they undergo reviews, according to a report Wednesday from the Wall Street Journal. The reviews are meant to ensure products won't harm children and to examine how Facebook might be criticized, the Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter. It's unknown how long the reviews will last or what they entail. 

Facebook has been under intense scrutiny since a Wall Street Journal series, based on documents leaked by Haugen, reported that the company ignored research about how Instagram can harm teen girls and that it performed an algorithm change to improve interaction on the platform that actually made users "angrier." Facebook contends that the Journal mischaracterized its research.

On Tuesday, Haugen told Congress that Facebook is prioritizing its profits instead of the public's best interest. She also called on lawmakers to amend Section 230, a law that protects Facebook, Google, other internet platforms and carriers. 

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday broke his silence about the scandal, saying a "false picture" was being painted of the social network. 

Amid the fallout, the company last week said that it would pause development of Instagram Kids

Facebook declined to comment.