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Instagram says it’s working on body image issue after report details ‘toxic’ effect on teen girls

The newspaper reported on Tuesday that researchers at Facebook (FB), which bought Instagram in 2012, have been conducting research for the previous three years into how the app impacts its thousands and thousands of younger customers. The analysis reveals the platform can injury psychological well being and body image, particularly amongst teen girls. Facebook executives have usually performed down psychological well being issues in public.

“We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls,” stated one inside presentation slide obtained by The Journal, summarizing analysis about teen girls who expertise the problems. Among teenagers who reported suicidal ideas, 13% of British customers and 6% of American customers traced the need to kill themselves to Instagram, one presentation confirmed, based on The Journal.

Karina Newton, head of public coverage at Instagram, wrote in a press release posted on Tuesday that referenced the newspaper article that whereas Instagram generally is a place the place individuals have “negative experiences,” the app additionally offers a voice to marginalized individuals and helps family and friends keep linked.

Newton stated that Facebook’s inside analysis demonstrated the corporate’s dedication to “understanding complex and difficult issues young people may struggle with, and informs all the work we do to help those experiencing these issues.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, Facebook researchers concluded that some issues with teen psychological well being have been particular to Instagram, and never social media extra broadly, particularly relating to “social comparison.” That’s when customers focus on how their wealth, look or success stacks up towards different individuals on the platform.

The analysis has been reviewed by prime Facebook executives, based on The Journal, and was cited in a 2020 presentation given to CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Newton stated in her weblog put up on Tuesday that Instagram is “increasingly focused on addressing negative social comparison and negative body image.” One thought is to immediate customers to have a look at completely different matters after they repeatedly view content material of that sort.

“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,” she stated.

That may not be sufficient to appease critics. Facebook reaffirmed in July in that it was transferring ahead with plans to construct an Instagram for youths beneath the age of 13 regardless of important opposition from mother and father and lawmakers in Washington.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, stated Tuesday that The Journal’s report demonstrates that Facebook has recognized for years of Instagram’s “damaging effect on young people,” and that its personal staff’ warnings have been “shoved aside in favor of growth.”

“I’m appalled and alarmed by Facebook’s targeting of teens with dangerous products while hiding the science of its toxic impact,” he stated on Twitter. “Through hearings and legislation my Commerce subcommittee will act to protect children and support parents.”

If you or somebody you understand is likely to be prone to suicide, listed here are methods to assist:

Call 1-800-273-8255 to succeed in the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It supplies free and confidential assist 24 hours a day, seven days per week for individuals in suicidal disaster or misery. You can be taught extra about its companies right here, together with its information on what to do in case you see suicidal language on social media. For disaster assist in Spanish, name 1-888-628-9454.
For assist exterior of the US, a worldwide listing of sources and worldwide hotlines is supplied by the International Association for Suicide Prevention. You may also flip to Befrienders Worldwide.

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