An internal Facebook survey assessed Instagram’s impact on the mental health of young girls. The document, released by the The Wall Street Journal, demonstrates how the social network is harmful and presents data such as: “32% of teenagers said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse”.
The duration of the study that was being developed was not clear, however, an internal presentation of the company from 2019 already claimed to have made “body image problems worse for one in three teenagers”. In another presentation, teenagers blamed Instagram for rising levels of anxiety and depression.
(Source: Anastasia Shuraeva/Pexels/Reproduction)Source: Pexels
Profit above responsibility
The social network has been heavily criticized for hiding the survey results, which would demonstrate that the company is more concerned with profit than with responsibility for the health of young people.
“Their own research shows that a large number of teenage Instagram users say the service makes them feel worse about themselves — but the company just wants to make sure they keep coming back,” says Damian Collins, chairman of the UK parliamentary committee .
Committee members and the US Fairplay campaign, formerly known as the Campaign for a Childhood Free of Commercials, are calling for Facebook to release the full survey and for the US government to block Instagram Youth’s project — a children’s version of the network.
In a blog post, Instagram argued that “although the story focuses on a limited set of discoveries and casts them in a negative light,” the research was of interest to them. Aiming to improve the user experience, by understanding the complexity and difficulties that young people were going through and finding ways to help them.
In recent months Instagram and TikTok have had to change some of their policies mainly aimed at teen exposure on platforms. On Facebook’s social network, some of the tools adopted were the obligation to enter their date of birth, preventing minors from having access to sensitive content, and the security awareness campaign, combating unwanted interactions on the platform.