image source, image caption Teenage girls can be very body image conscious - and Instagram can make them worse, internal studies show
Instagram, owned by Facebook , has been criticized for keeping its internal research on the effect social media had on teenage users a secret.
According to the Wall Street Journal , his studies showed that teens blamed Instagram for the increased levels anxiety and depression.
Campaign groups and campaignersMEPs said it was proof that the company puts profit first.
Instagram said research has shown its "commitment to understanding complex and difficult issues ".
The Wall Street Journal report, uncontested by Facebook, finds:
- A 2019 presentation slide read: "We are making things worse. body image issues for one in three teenage girls "
- Another slide says teens blamed Instagram for increased levels of anxiety and depression
- In 2020 , research found that 32% of teenage girls surveyed said they felt bad in their bodies, Ins tagram made them feel worse
- Around 13% of UK teenagers and 6% of US users surveyed attributed their desire to kill themselves to Instagram
- Instagram has conducted several focus groups, online polls and diary studies on plusieurs years
- In 2021, he conducted large-scale research on tens of thousands of people who linked user responses to his own data on how much time was spent on Instagram and what was seen
In response to the WSJ report, Instagram posted a lengthy blog defending his research.
The history of the WSJ has focused "on a limited set of results and presents them in a negative light," he said, but the problem was much more complex .
image source, image caption According to Facebook, people's relationship with social media is complex - it makes them feel both good and bad
"We did a job on bullying, suicide and self-harm, and eating disorders, to help make Instagram a safe and supportive place for everyone, "the company said in his message.
"Based on our research and expert feedback, We have developed features so that people can protect themselves from harassment, we have given everyone the possibility of masquer the number of "likes" and we continued to connect people who may be attacked. gling with local support organizations. "
He was working on prompts to encourage people to repeatedly dwell on negative topics to look at different topics, he said.
And he promised to be more transparent about his future research.
'Profit before evil '
But Andy Burrows, head of children's safety online from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said it was "appalling that they chose to sit on their hands rather than act on evidence " ".
" Instead of working to make the site safe, they hampered researchers, regulators and the government and carried out a public relations campaign and lobbying in the aim to prove the contrary. "
MP Damian Collins, who presidesof the UK parliamentary committee tasked with examining how big tech should be regulated to protect user safety, said it was time to "hold them to account ".
"The Wall Street Journal 's investigation of the Facebook files revealed how the company, time and again, puts profit over evil, " he said.
His own research tells him 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 that they're coming back. "
The online security bill aims to give regulator Ofcom the power to impose fines on companies that do not act on potentially harmful content. image source, image caption Instagram is popular with young people andnchildren, despite being 13 years old
US campaign group Fairplay (formerly Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood) said the news showed that Instagram didn 't was not a place for kids.
"In a move straight out of the big tobacco playbook, Facebook downplayed the negative effects of its product and hid this research from the public and even from members of Congress who specifically requested it, "he said.
" And in the ultimate display of the daring and contempt of children, the The company now wants to hook young children on Instagram. "
Fairplay also called on the US government to demand Facebook published its research and blocked its plans to launch Instagram Youth.
It was revealed earlier this year that Facebook was planning to create a free Instagram account for those under 13, designed to keep them safe.
'No fix '
Jonathan Haidt, psocial sychologist at the Stern School of New York University of Business, said Today program from Hfrance.fr Radio 4 he had met with Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg to discuss the effect of the social network on mental health.
"He was interested but he thinks the research is ambiguous and doesn't indicate wrong, " Mr. Haidt said.
"Of course, now we know that they had their own research which suggested harm. "
" They organized focus groups, online surveys, journal studies - so this was not a coincidental finding.
"I wouldn't expect them to come forward the first time they find evidence of harm and say, 'Oh my God, our product is harmful', but if they have multiple sources of evidence and there is evidence outside the company as well, aso i think the picture is pretty clear. "
But, he added, it would take fundamental changes in the business to make a difference.
"The platform encourages children to post pictures of themselves, to be looted by others, including strangers in the world," he said.
"If this is the business model, there is no way to fix it.