Pratiti Raychoudhury, vice president and head of research at Facebook, has shared new details about the investigation carried out by The Wall Street Journal. The US newspaper accused Facebook of having studies that confirm how harmful Instagram can be to young people and not taking steps to fix it.
Specifically, the study revealed by the aforementioned media detailed that Facebook had very precise data on the mental health problems that the use of Instagram can cause in adolescents. In large part, because the algorithm tends to always show “the best”.
The Facebook statement highlights that the WSJ information it is not entirely accurate. The company also ensures that the reports were not interpreted correctly. “It is simply not accurate that this research shows that Instagram is ‘toxic’ to teenage girls. Research has actually shown that many teens we hear about feel that using Instagram has helped them when they are going through tough times and problems that teens have always had to deal with, ”says Raychoudhury.
Facebook downplays the body image problems Instagram causes in teenage girls
Asdrubal Luna | Unsplash
The US newspaper highlighted – although it did not show – a slide from 2019 where Facebook detailed that Instagram is harmful to young women with a disturbing headline: “We make body image problems worse in one in three teenagers.”
Mark Zuckerberg’s company defends itself by claiming that the slide shows 12 problems related to mental health. Instagram has helped teens improve 11 of them. Some are anxiety, social comparison, sleep problems, eating problems, or sadness. Being body image problems the only point at which the social network it has had a negative impact on teenagers.
The slide that WSJ mentions, shared by Facebook.
Facebook, however, does not specify a solution to this all-important problem. The company says the goal of this internal investigation is “to minimize the bad and maximize the good.” It does not mention, in addition, another worrying data that WSJ revealed, where it highlighted that adolescents claimed to be addicted to the social network.
Antígone Davis, Facebook Global Head of Security, will appear before a Senate Commerce Subcommittee this Thursday, after two senators announced an investigation into the Facebook studies before the United States Congress.