Facebook knows how Instagram is harming teens’ mental health. Their recent internal presentation revealed that the app worsens one in every three teen girls’ body image issues. Read along to know how bad the social media app is for young minds.
Facebook knows Instagram is destructive for Teen girls and their body image
A new report from The Wall Street Journal strengthens the fact that social media is ‘pretty bad’ for teen minds. The report is based on in-depth studies from the social media firm which reveals the toxic effect it has on teens. However, Facebook is unwilling to share it with the public and is downplaying the harm done. While Instagram is a powerful space of ‘social comparison’ for most of us, for Teenage girls, it can be much more personal. They are often bombarded with images of the ‘perfect body’ in Instagram ads, images on their feeds, and even the Explore page. These have a very toxic and negative effect on the user’s mind.
“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” stated Facebook’s internal presentation. It must be noted that the figure refers to teenagers with existing body image issues. While the app tried to make changes by giving the option to hide the number of likes, it did not have a large effect. It turned out that it didn’t change nearly as much about how people felt, or how much they used the experience as we thought it would,” said Adam Mosseri, the Instagram chief. “But it did end up being pretty polarizing. Some people liked it, and some people didn’t,” he added.
“Facebook’s answers were so evasive — failing to even respond to all our questions. That they raise questions about what Facebook might be hiding. Facebook seems to be taking a page from the textbook of Big Tobacco. It is targeting teens with potentially dangerous products while masking the science in public,” said Sens. Richard Blumenthal to the reporters at Wall Street Journal.
What does Instagram’s secret research reveal?
A Facebook study of teenagers using Instagram revealed that over 40 percent of users in the UK and US reported feeling ‘unattractive’ than they did before using the app. Teens also told the researchers that they were addicted to the app and did not want to check it often. However, they do not have enough self-control to reduce their usage. “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression. This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups,” said the research presented at Facebook in 2019.
The research concluded that Instagram was more geared towards social comparison’ than rival social media apps like Snapchat and TikTok. While TikTok is more towards performance and Snapchat is towards funny or aesthetic filters, Instagram is slightly different. The social media app highlights user’s lifestyles and bodies more than others.
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