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Facebook has repeatedly found its Instagram app to be harmful to a number of teens, according to a Wall Street Journal report " released on Tuesday .
The Journal quoted Facebook studies over the past three years that have looked at how Instagram affects its young user base, with teenage girls especially hurt. An internal Facebook presentation indicated that among teens who reported suicidal thoughts, 13% of UK users and 6% of US users attributed the problem to Instagram.
"Thirty-two percent of teenage girls said that when they feel bad about their body, Instagram makes them feel bad. feel worse, "the researchers reportedly wrote. Facebookalso reportedly discovered that 14% of boys in the US said Instagram made them feel worse about themselves.
While Facebook found that a large percentage of teens are not harmed by Instagram, according to the Journal, the features that the social media company identified as the most harmful are part of its key makeup.
According to the report, the researchers warned the Instagram's Explore page, which serves users with organized posts from a wide range of accounts, can push users to content that can be harmful. The app also has a culture of only posting the best photos and moments, and it works like an addicting product.
"Aspects of Instagram exacerbate each other for create a perfect storm, "the research said: according to the Journal.
Senior executives reviewed the research, according to the Journal, and it was cited in a presentation given to CEO last year Mark " Zuckerberg . Yet Facebook reportedly struggled to deal with the problem while keeping users engaged and coming back. Facebook is also making a version of Instagram for children under 13.
Young users are the key to Instagram's success. More than 40% of Instagram users are 22 and under, according to documents viewed by the Journal.
In "a blog article , the person in charge of Instagram public policy Karina Newton responded to the report and said the company is looking for ways to steer users away from certain types of Instagram posts.
"We are exploring ways to Encourage them to look at different topics if they repeatedly consult this type of content, "Newton said." We are cautiously optimistic that these nudges will help steer people towards content that inspires and uplifts them, and to a greater extent, will change the game's part. Instagram culture that focuses on how people look. "
The Journal report has exacerbated concerns from at least one lawmaker about Facebook's crawling of 'A kid's version of Instagram. Representative Lori Trahan, D-Mass. has made children's mental health issues related to social media a key priority and has previously berated Facebook for considering such a product.
Following the Journal 's report, Trahan called on Facebook to "immediately drop plans for Instagram for children " and instead focus on protecting young, existing users.
"Internal Facebook documents show that the company is failing to protect children on Instagram - in particulartying up young girls - is outright neglect, and it has been going on for years, "Trahan said in a statement.
" Facebook doesn 't have to develop additional social media outlets. media platforms explicitly designed for our kids when they can't be trusted to keep their current home tidy. "
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., House Energy's top Republican and Commerce Committee, also made children's mental health online a cornerstone of its platform. In a statement Tuesday, it said Facebook "refused to comply " at a request from the committee's Republicans to Mars asking for its internal research on the impact of its products on children's mental health.
A Facebook spokesperson said that due to the exclusive nature of Due to the issues ofresearch and privacy for study participants, it can be difficult to share internal data outside of the company. Nonetheless, the spokesperson said, Facebook is looking to be more transparent about its internal studies.
"It also leaves us wondering what else they are hiding " said McMorris Rodgers. "We will continue to demand transparency from Facebook and other Big Tech companies, especially when it comes to the damage their products are having on our children.
Republicans have done so circulate discussion drafts of bills, including one that would require platforms like Facebook to submit regular reports to the Federal Trade Commission on the impact of their businesses on children's mental health.
Facebook "knows Instagram is toxic to teens, but they don't care -they're too busy shutting out conservatives and stifling free speech, "Senator Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said on Twitter.
Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass ., called the report 's findings "appalling " in a tweet and said he "would demand answers from Mark Zuckerberg ".
The Democratic FTC Commissioner , Rohit Chopra, later tweeted, "Given the financial incentives built into its surveillance-based business model, this is yet another sign that the company cannot trust our data.
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