an internal facebook survey assessed the impact of Instagram on young girls’ mental health. The document, published by The Wall Street Journal, shows how damaging the social network is, presenting data such as: “32% of teens said Instagram made them feel worse when they felt bad about their bodies.”
The length of the study under development wasn’t clear, but an internal company presentation from 2019 already claimed it had “made body image problems worse for one in three teens.” In another presentation, teens blamed Instagram for increasing anxiety and depression.
Profit over responsibility
The social network has been heavily criticized for hiding its research results, which would show that the company is more concerned with profit than 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,” said Damian Collins, chair of the UK Parliamentary Committee .
Committee members and the US Fairplay campaign, formerly known as the Campaign for a Childhood Without Ads, are calling for: facebook to release the full survey and for the US government to block the Instagram Youth 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 portrays them in a negative light,” the research was of interest to them. With the aim of improving the user experience by understanding the complexities and difficulties young people went through and finding ways to help them.
In recent months, Instagram and TikTok have had to change some of their policies, mainly targeting teen exposure on platforms. on Facebooks social network, some of the tools used were the obligation to enter their date of birth, prevent minors from accessing sensitive content, and the security awareness campaign, which counters unwanted interactions on the platform.