Facebook bought Instagram for a billion dollars in early 2012. Instagram was a popular platform for teens who had stopped using the main Facebook app. Facebook saw the acquisition of Instagram as the perfect social network to attract young people and the applications race for perfection began to affect the mental health of its teenage users.
New documents viewed by the Wall street journal report that Facebook was aware of Instagram’s social comparison, which is when people assess their own worth in relation to the attractiveness, wealth, and success of others and its damaging effect on teens.
“Instagram is well positioned to resonate and win with young people. There is a path to growth if Instagram can continue its trajectory ”, reads several internally published slides.
The giant social network has downplayed the negative effects that Instagram continually has on teens. They do not publish their internal public research or share it with legislators and academics when asked.
“Facebook’s responses were so evasive, they didn’t even answer all of our questions, that they really raise questions about what Facebook might be hiding. Facebook appears to be taking over a page from Big Tobacco’s textbook, targeting teens with potentially dangerous products while masking the science in public, ”Sen. said. Blumenthal.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg even told Congress in March 2021 that the research they have seen is that using social apps to connect with other people can have positive mental health benefits when asked about mental health and the children.
Adam Mosseri recently shared with reporters that the research he had seen suggested that the app’s effects on the well-being of teens are probably “pretty small.”
“Thirty-two percent of teenage girls said that when they felt bad about their body, Instagram made them feel worse. Comparisons on Instagram can change the way young women see and describe themselves, ”the researchers said in a March 2020 slideshow posted on Facebook’s internal message board as seen by the WSJ. .
“We make body image problems worse for one in three teenagers.”
“Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression. This reaction was spontaneous and consistent in all groups ”, reads some of the slides.
The submissions also showed that teenage users tracked their suicidal thoughts to Instagram. Adam agrees that some of Instagram’s features could be harmful to some young users and are not easy to tackle.
“For me, this is not dirty laundry. In fact, I am very proud of this research, ”he adds.
The studies called “in-depth analysis of adolescent mental health” were conducted by researchers who are employees of Facebook in areas including data science, marketing, and product development working on a variety of issues related to the way we that users interact with the platform.
The research adds that social comparison it’s worse on Instagram as it focuses heavily on the body and lifestyle compared to rivals like TikTok, which is performance-based, while Snapchat keeps the focus on the face.
Deep analysis reports that Instagram’s top features are the most damaging to teens, including but not limited to the tendency to share only the best moments, pressure to look perfect, and an addictive product can cause teens to fall for a spiral into eating disorders, an unhealthy situation. sense of their own bodies and depression.
Research warns that algorithmically selected photos and videos on the Explore page can send users to content that can be harmful.
“If you think RJ Reynolds should have been more candid about the link between smoking and lung cancer, then you probably should believe that Facebook should be more forthright about the links to depression among teenage girls,” said Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University after learning about Facebook’s internal research.
He has published research that finds that social media is harmful for some children.
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