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Central Ohio father, youth leader stunned by Facebook whistleblower's testimony

John Thomas-Yates, a central Ohio father and youth leader said he's disappointed things that are supposed to be used for good are being used for the wrong reasons.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Facebook whistleblower who came forward to 60 minutes testified on Tuesday in front of a senate subcommittee. 

Frances Haugen said nobody is holding Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg accountable except for himself.  

Haugen worked at the company as a product manager for the civic misinformation team for nearly two years before quitting back in May. She gathered thousands of documents before she left, showing the company was aware of its harm to underage users. 

As a parent hearing all of this was tough, “'I think it's crazy but it's revealing what we already knew,” said John Thomas-Yates.  

He’s disappointed when things that are supposed to be used for good, are used for the wrong reasons.  

Thomas-Yates uses Facebook, Instagram, and other social media apps to connect with his community as a youth pastor at Higher Ground Baptists Church.  

He’s also a father of four. His youngest son is in high school. Thomas-Yates also holds the title of grandfather to a two-year-old.  

"Social media, it'll tear you up if somebody is posting something that's contrary to what you have. Some of the young ladies that I mentor that's where a lot of their depression and troubled times. The first thing you want to say is get off…that's going to be hard,” he said.  

But as much as he wants to get rid of them the same platforms might be part of the solution.  

"Be quizzical with your child. Be curious. You know what have you found on social media,” said Dr. Mary Fristad is with Nationwide Children's Hospital said taking those few minutes as a parent, can potentially save your child.  

"We know that teens blame Instagram for suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, these are really damaging experiences for teenagers,” she said.  

Yates doesn't want anyone to have to suffer, especially people who have their whole lives to look forward to. It's tough, but he's thankful that he now knows.  

"If we have these conversations, we can let them know that this stuff's not right and we need to find an alternative,” said Thomas-Yates.

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