Facebook knew Instagram made teenage girls feel worse about themselves

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Instagram knew its app was making teenage girls feel bad about their bodies, internal documents from the company reportedly reveal.

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“Thirty-two percent of teenage girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” the researchers said in a March 2020 slide presentation posted on Facebook’s internal message board. wall street journal. “Comparisons on Instagram can change the way young women see and describe themselves.”

More slides contained similar messages: “We make body image issues worse for one in three teenage girls,” said a slide from 2019. Another read: “Teenagers blame Instagram for increased rates of anxiety and depression. This response was unpublished and consistent across all groups.”


According to the findings, 13 percent of British users and six percent of American users believed that Instagram was the source of suicidal thoughts. Yet Instagram remains a major social media platform for young people, with more than 40 percent of the app’s demographic being under the age of 22.

Facebook, Instagram’s parent company, is keen to develop the Photos app. “Instagram is well positioned to resonate with young people and win over,” one slide said, adding that “there is a path of growth if Instagram can continue its trajectory”.

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files gathered from wall street journal Make several claims based on internal Facebook data: one in five teens say Instagram makes them feel bad about themselves, and girls in the UK are the most affected by the app; Teens struggling with mental health say Instagram makes it worse; Negative feelings about “having a great image, feeling attractive and having enough money” on Instagram are likely to start.

This data comes from focus groups, online surveys and diary studies for 2019 and 2020, as well as a large-scale survey of thousands of users in 2021.

According to Facebook’s own researchers, many of the problems are specific to Instagram. “Social comparisons are worse on Instagram,” a 2020 Facebook research reportedly said, because competitors like TikTok and Snapchat are based more in performance or facial filters — rather than the body image and lifestyle topics pushed by Instagram. .

“Aspects of Instagram tend to make a perfect storm out of each other,” said the research, which was apparently reviewed by Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

These harmful effects are not felt by all demographics, and for most teens the “negative social comparison” created by the app outweighs its use to keep friends engaged, the research suggested. However, the Instagram researchers also found that teens tended to use the app less regularly but lacked the self-control to do so.

“The teens told us they didn’t like the amount of time they spend on the app, but it felt like they had to be present,” the internal documents said. “They often feel ‘addicted’ and know what they are seeing is bad for their mental health but feel unable to stop themselves.” It was also found that selfies that have been filtered and shared in stories made users feel worse.

Researchers suggested that Instagram should reduce exposure to celebrity content about fashion and beauty, and increase content from close friends; However, some Facebook employees pushed against that suggestion.

“Isn’t that what IG is mostly about?” “The (Very Photogenic) Life of the Top 0.1%” is why teens are on stage, one male employee wrote on an internal message board.

A former ex-executive also emphasized the changes: “People use Instagram because it’s a competition. That’s the fun part.”

The report follows several stories about Facebook’s knowledge of the implications for its algorithms and app design. In January 2019, teenager Molly Russell committed suicide, with her father accusing the app of “helping kill” his daughter. Instagram said it would ban self-harming graphic images from the app a week later.

Facebook also shelved research that would prevent the platform from encouraging political division, and has been found to recommend Holocaust denial and other fascist content.

In addition to its main app, Instagram is currently building a version of its app for children under the age of 13, though 44 states in the US have asked the company to drop the plans.

one in blog post About this of the Wall Street Journal Conclusion, Instagram said: “Social media is not inherently good or bad for people. Many people find it helpful one day, and problematic the next. What matters most is how people use social media.” How do they do it, and what is their state of mind when they use it.

“Many people said that Instagram makes things better or has no effect, but some, especially those who were already feeling down, said that Instagram can make things worse. Researched In the world, this is not surprising or unexpected. Issues such as negative social comparisons and anxiety exist in the world, so they will continue to exist on social media as well. That doesn’t change the fact that we take these findings seriously, and we This research has set up a unique effort to respond and change Instagram for the better.”

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Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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