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Facebook documents show how toxic Instagram is for teens, Wall Street Journal reports

Facebook has repeatedly discovered that its Instagram app is dangerous to numerous youngsters, in keeping with a Wall Street Journal report printed Tuesday.

The Journal cited Facebook research over the previous three years that examined how Instagram impacts its younger consumer base, with teenage women being most notably harmed. One inner Facebook presentation stated that amongst teenagers who reported suicidal ideas, 13% of British customers and 6% of American customers traced the problem to Instagram.

“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” the researchers reportedly wrote. Facebook additionally reportedly discovered that 14% of boys within the U.S. stated Instagram made them really feel worse about themselves.

While Facebook concluded that a big share of youngsters aren’t negatively harmed by Instagram, in keeping with the Journal, the options that the social media firm recognized as essentially the most dangerous are a part of its key make-up.

According to the report, researchers warned Instagram’s Explore web page, which serves customers curated posts from a variety of accounts, can push customers into content material that may be dangerous. The app additionally has a tradition of posting solely one of the best photos and moments, and it operates as an addictive product.

“Aspects of Instagram exacerbate each other to create a perfect storm,” the analysis stated, in keeping with the Journal.

Top executives have reviewed the analysis, in keeping with the Journal, and it was cited in a presentation given final 12 months to CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Still, Facebook has reportedly struggled to handle the issue whereas protecting customers engaged and coming again. Facebook is additionally constructing a model of Instagram for children beneath age 13.

Young customers are a key to Instagram’s success. More than 40% of Instagram’s customers are 22 years outdated and youthful, in keeping with supplies seen by the Journal.

In a weblog submit, Instagram’s head of public coverage, Karina Newton, responded to the reporting and stated the corporate is researching methods to drag customers away from dwelling on sure forms of Instagram posts.

“We’re exploring ways to prompt them to look at different topics if they’re repeatedly looking at this type of content,” Newton stated. “We’re cautiously optimistic that these nudges will help point people towards content that inspires and uplifts them, and to a larger extent, will shift the part of Instagram’s culture that focuses on how people look.”

The Journal report exacerbated no less than one lawmaker’s considerations over Facebook’s exploration of a kids’s model of Instagram. Rep. Lori Trahan, D-Mass., has made kids’s psychological well being considerations in reference to social media use a key precedence and beforehand rebuked Facebook for contemplating such a product.

Following the Journal’s report, Trahan referred to as for Facebook to “immediately abandon plans for Instagram for Kids” and focus as a substitute on defending current younger customers.

“Facebook’s internal documents show that the company’s failure to protect children on Instagram – especially young girls – is outright neglect, and it’s been going on for years,” Trahan stated in an announcement.

“Facebook has no business developing additional social media platforms explicitly designed for our children when they can’t be trusted to keep their current house in order.”

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the highest Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has additionally made kids’s psychological well being on-line a cornerstone of her platform. In an announcement Tuesday, she stated Facebook “refused to comply” with a request from Republicans on the committee in March asking for its inner analysis on its merchandise’ influence on children’ psychological well being.

A Facebook spokesperson stated that because of the proprietary nature of the analysis and confidentiality considerations for members within the research, it may be tough to share inner knowledge outdoors of the corporate. Still, the spokesperson stated, Facebook seeks to be extra clear about its inner research.

“This also leaves us wondering what else they are hiding,” McMorris Rodgers stated. “We will continue to demand transparency from Facebook and other Big Tech companies, especially as it relates to the harm their products have on our children.”

Republicans have circulated dialogue drafts of payments together with one that might require platforms like Facebook to submit common reports to the Federal Trade Commission on their firms’ influence on kids’s psychological well being.

Facebook “knows Instagram is toxic for teens, but they don’t care — they’re too busy shutting out conservatives and stifling free speech,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., stated on Twitter.

Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., referred to as the findings within the report “appalling” in a tweet and stated he could be “demanding answers from Mark Zuckerberg.”

Democratic FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra later tweeted, “Given the financial incentives embedded in its surveillance-based business model, it is yet another sign that the company cannot be trusted with our data.”

Read the total Wall Street Journal report.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

WATCH: More than 40 state AGs to oppose ‘Instagram Kids’

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