Monica Lewinsky: Social Media Companies ‘Must Do Better’

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“I absolutely think all social media companies, even if they try, can definitely do better. And they have to do better,” Lewinsky told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.”

Lewinsky, after years out of public view after becoming a figure of national fascination with her affair with then-President Bill Clinton, is now known as an activist against bullying and cyberbullying.

His comments follow a Wall Street Journal report based on internal Facebook documents that show the company is aware of the “toxic” effects its platforms, especially Instagram, can have on young people. Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen told the Senate on Tuesday that company executives knew of ways to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but would not do so “because they have shot up their astronomical profits.” before people.
Asked about social media companies and Haugen’s testimony, Lewinsky, who is executive producer of HBO Max’s upcoming documentary “15 Minutes of Shame,” which examines public humiliation in the age of social media, said: ” Partly what our doc examines this online behavior that is happening and women and people from marginalized communities are much more torn online, so coming forward as a whistleblower in that sense is very courageous. “

She later added: “If you think about the stoning that happened long ago, the stone you pick up and throw into the storm of outrage is generally and often public humiliation and shame.”

“This is how we get angry. I mean, there are other ways of doing it too, but I think this is where, you know, it all gets mixed up,” Lewinsky continued. .

Renewed attention is also being paid to the affair that Lewinsky, then a White House intern, had with Clinton at the age of 22. The twists and turns of the scandal are dramatized in “Impeachment: American Crime Story”, a new FX series for which Lewinsky is a producer.

She said on Tuesday that it was important the show did not “photoshopping” in her life. “I felt like I shouldn’t get a pass as a producer. I think, first of all, I shouldn’t get a pass in general. You know, I think it’s important to ‘Take responsibility for the mistakes, and I worked hard to overcome them, ”Lewinsky said.

“But especially with the show, there are so many people who worked hard on the show and it was important to me that the credibility of the show was there.”

Asked about Clinton’s portrayal on the show, Lewinsky said that “we see aspects of Bill that we have never seen before.”

The former president reflected on his relationship with Lewinsky over the years, including in comments in 2018, where he appeared to be defending himself and suggesting he did not owe Lewinsky an apology, saying at the time: ” No, I didn’t – I never spoke to him. But I’ve said publicly on more than one occasion that I’m sorry. It’s very different. The apology was public.
Clinton later admitted that the defense was not his “best time” and said he felt “terrible” that the case had defined Lewinsky’s life.

Lewinsky said on Tuesday: “I think what’s really important to remember in today’s world is that we never should have even gotten to a place where consent was an issue.”

“So it was totally inappropriate as the most powerful man, my boss, 49. I was 22, I had literally just graduated from college. And I think the power differences there- low is something I could never imagine the consequences of at 22. I obviously understand so differently at 48. “

This story has been updated with additional details from Tuesday’s interview.

CNN’s Devan Cole contributed to this report.


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