Wall Street Journal's Facebook Files series prompts comparisons to Big Tobacco

All week long, The Wall Street Journal's "Facebook Files" series has invited comparisons of the social media platform to tobacco companies.

The Journal relied on internal company documents it obtained to show Facebook knows, "in acute detail," about the problems with its platforms. The assorted harms to users are well-documented. But, in the words of the Journal, Facebook "hasn't fixed" the flaws.

So: Social platforms are addictive and often harmful. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, told the Journal "Facebook seems to be taking a page from the textbook of Big Tobacco — targeting teens with potentially dangerous products while masking the science in public."

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican, tweeted "Big Tech has become the new Big Tobacco. Facebook is lying about how their product harms teens."

The series matters because it comes with evidence."Time and again, the documents show, Facebook's researchers have identified the platform's ill effects," the Journal says. "Time and again, despite congressional hearings, its own pledges and numerous media exposés, the company didn't fix them. The documents offer perhaps the clearest picture thus far of how broadly Facebook's problems are known inside the company, up to the chief executive himself."