Why it matters: Most people know that Instagram can have a negative mental health impact, especially for teenage girls with body image issues. Even Facebook knows this, as internal research shows it did and has been keeping a secret for the past three years.
Leaked Facebook documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal show that the social network has been studying the effects of Instagram on the mental health of young users over the past few years. The company has long insisted that social media can have a positive effect on users' morale, but its research appears to contradict that.
“We make body image issues worse for the three teenage girls” slide from an indoor presentation in 2019. 32% of teenage girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them worse.” In a presentation Post from March 2020, researchers said. “Teens blame Instagram for increased anxiety and depression. This reaction was unprecedented across all categories." Users and 6% of US users can follow their problems on Instagram. Elsewhere, more than 40 percent of Instagram users who felt "unattractive" said the feeling started on the app. About A quarter of teens who said they were "not good enough" the problems started on Instagram.
"Aspects of Instagram ramp up each other to create a perfect storm," the researchers said.
Studies show that Instagram has harmful effects on the mental health of young people has been around for years, but Facebook has ruled out any link. In March, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that when informed of the findings, he said social media is likely to have a positive impact on mental health.
Zuckerberg, who advocates for Instagram launch programs for people under the age of 13, told the congressional committee, "I think the answer is 'yes', when the company has done research on the program's impact on children or not. Instagram has the mental health of young people. The message sent a six-page letter that did not include any research on the company.
Facebook recently, after several years of experimenting with this option, used the ability to hide the number of likes on its platform and Instagram. It is hoped The move should reduce pressure on those people, especially younger users, who are balancing the popularity and value of social media.
Instagram's director of public policy, Karina Newton, responded to The Wall Street Journal in a blog post, Newton said the story "focuses on a limited set of outcomes and presents them in a negative light." Newton added that the type of content focuses on change. p>
Unearthed documents show Facebook understands how harmful Instagram can be to teenage girls