The social media company Facebook is under scrutiny following an internal investigation. This, around the harmful effects on mental health that the use of Instagram brings, especially in girls and adolescents. This has put the social network under criticism from organizations and even the United States government.
This was revealed in an investigation by the US media The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which indicates that the main problem specific to Instagram is “social comparison”. They claim, with support from Facebook’s internal research, that the platform encourages sharing content associated with the attractiveness, wealth and success of users.
For example, the documentation released by the WSJ shows, the internal study found that 40% of the teens surveyed reported feeling “unattractive” and traced the beginning of this feeling to the use of Instagram. On the other hand, a slide shows, 42% of the population reported feeling inadequate in monetary terms, while 33% claimed not to have “enough friends.”
However, Facebook is not alone in reaching similar conclusions. Both John Hopkins University and the organization Support and Empathy for People with Eating Disorders (Seed) have warned of the negative impact of Instagram. Particularly in the case of body editing filters, with consequences for body image and eating behavior for adolescents.
In a post on the official Instagram blog, Karina Newton, Head of Public Policy, responded to the WSJ note without denying the results of her internal investigation. She accused the newspaper’s editorial staff of focusing “on a limited series of findings and putting them in a negative light.” She too, she claimed that studies feed into all the decisions the company makes to solve this problem.
The WSJ note suggests that Mark Zuckerberg’s company has not done enough about this problem even if it is aware of the facts. This, although Facebook has carried out initiatives such as disappearing the visibility of likes, in an attempt to “depressurize” the interaction on the platform. They consider that the platform prohibits its use by children under 13 years of age, the company considered building a version of it for users below this limit.
In light of these findings, a group of US congressmen sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg himself. In this, they accuse him of presenting a positive image of the social network while “the investigation of his own company points to a disturbing relationship between the use of Instagram and the social network.” They also called on the CEO to delve into this information and suspend plans to offer an alternative to the platform for children under 13 years of age.
The social media company Facebook is expected to face increased pressure from organizations and government authorities. Meanwhile, according to his communication channels, he will continue to carry out this type of internal investigation. This with the aim of improving the experience on Instagram, trying to rescue the positive aspects it facilitates in terms of connectivity.