After The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook experts have consistently discovered that the photo-sharing network is hazardous for teen females, Instagram says it’s looking at new techniques to discourage users from focusing on their physical beauty.
According to the publication, researchers at Facebook (FB), which bought Instagram in 2012, have been studying how the app impacts its millions of teenage users for the past three years. According to the study, the site can harm teen girls’ mental health and body image. In public, Facebook officials have frequently downplayed mental health concerns.
“We exacerbate body image difficulties for one in three teen females,” according to an internal presentation slide seen by The Journal, which summarized research on teen girls who have the problems. According to The Journal, 13 percent of British users and 6 percent of American users who expressed suicidal thoughts blamed Instagram for their wish to die.
While Instagram can be a place where individuals have “bad experiences,” Karina Newton, Instagram’s head of public policy, stated in a statement made on Tuesday that mentioned the newspaper report that the platform also gives a voice to disenfranchised people and helps friends and family stay connected.
Facebook’s internal research, according to Newton, demonstrates the company’s commitment to “understanding complicated and challenging situations that young people may face, and influences all of the work we undertake to help those facing these issues.”
Related Article: Facebook claims Instagram’s progress for children despite the outcry
Facebook experts have concluded, according to the Wall Street Journal, that certain mental health concerns for teenagers are specific to Instagram and not more broadly to social media, particularly when it comes to social comparison. This is when users focus on how the riches, attractiveness, or success of the platform compares up to others.
According to The Wall Street Journal, top Facebook executives analyzed the material, which was then included in a 2020 presentation to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Instagram “focuses more and more on fighting harmful social and body comparisons,” Newton wrote in a Tuesday blog post. When consumers regularly read the same type of content, one concept is to push them to look at alternative topics.
“These tactics enable users to uncover content that inspires and raises them and to influence the part of the Instagram culture more effectively which focuses on how people appear,” she added.
It’s possible that this won’t be enough to satisfy critics. Despite substantial resistance from parents and lawmakers in Washington, Facebook reaffirmed in July that it was pressing forward with plans to establish an Instagram for youngsters under the age of 13.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a Democrat, said Tuesday that The Journal’s investigation shows that Facebook knows for years about Instagram’s “damaging effect on young people,”. And that its own workers’ warnings were “pushed aside in favor of expansion.”
On Twitter, he stated, “The Facebook focus of youngsters living with uncertain things is ridiculous and troubling while disguising the findings of their harmful impact.”My Commerce subcommittee will work to protect children and support parents through hearings and legislation.”
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide, here are some things you can do to help:
It is possible to access the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It offers free and confidential assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to persons in suicidal crisis or distress. You may get more information about its services here, including a guideline for what you can do if you witness social media suicidal language. For Spanish-language crisis assistance, go to, call 1-888-628-9454.
The International Association for Suicide Prevention provides a worldwide database of resources and international hotlines for help outside of the United States. Befrienders Worldwide is another option.