Mark Zuckerberg publicly claims that Instagram is good for well-being. But the research initiated by Facebook itself shows a different picture. Nobody lives in a constant stream of happy moments.
Instagram reduces life to a steady stream of happy moments
Facebook is well aware of the harmful effects of Instagram on young people and especially girls, although the US company publicly claims otherwise. It appears from internal documents that were leaked to the Wall Street Journal.
According to the report commissioned by Facebook, for several years researchers have concluded that Instagram is harmful to a large percentage of young people. Every third teenage girl develops a more negative perception of her body because of Instagram, and a large number of teens believe they have suicidal thoughts because of Instagram. The tendency to share only the best moments leads someone to negative behavior: “Aspects of Instagram exacerbate the ‘perfect storm’ life,” the Wall Street Journal quotes.
worse than the competition
Teens blame Instagram for increased anxiety and depression, according to a view of Facebook’s internally circulated research. The research group concluded that some negative mental health outcomes are explicitly related to Instagram rather than to social networks in general. This applies primarily to social comparisons, i.e. when people evaluate their intrinsic value in comparison to the attractiveness, wealth and success of others. TikTok is more about looks, Snapchat is fun filters that alienate and distort the face. Only on Instagram the focus is on the body and lifestyle.
The notifier asks for protection
Having said that, it must be added that the analyzes do not find negative consequences for all users. For most people, the positive opportunities outweigh the negative ones.
The report from the Wall Street Journal this time around is also based on leaked internal documents by an anonymous internal Facebook whistleblower who has requested federal protection as a whistleblower. And the newspaper revealed, on Tuesday, that Facebook has different “standards” for different people, preferring millions of celebrities around the world.
Next is a separate Instagram for kids
The revelation that Facebook is well aware of the harmful consequences of Instagram on the psyche of young people comes at an inappropriate time for the company. Despite the fact that the company has not put in place effective measures to counteract similar negative consequences, it is already in the process of expanding the service with “Instagram for children”. A number of private and public organizations, as well as representatives of authorities in many countries, protested personally to Facebook’s president, Mark Zuckerberg, and stated that Facebook had already failed to protect the welfare of children on its existing platforms.
US authorities respond
Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn, who represent Democrats and Republicans in the US Senate, say they will launch an investigation into how the photo and video-sharing service Instagram affects young users after the information was revealed.
Senators representing the Committee on Consumer Protection, Product and Data Security say they are in contact with the whistleblower.
We will use all the resources at our disposal to investigate what Facebook knew and when they knew it, including searching for more documentation and pursuing testimony. The Wall Street Journal reports may be just the tip of the iceberg.
Richard Blumenthal and Marsha Blackburn, US Senator