In a recent article, we talked about the six-hour outage experienced by Facebook. However, that’s not the only reason Facebook has been in the news recently. A month ago, the Wall Street Journal published an article about Instagram. It was made in response to documents leaked by a Facebook whistleblower. The article contained information about an internal study done by Facebook, about how Instagram is affecting its young users.
So what happened?
On September 14th, the WSJ published an article containing information which was previously only known to Facebook. For more than three years, Facebook has been conducting internal research on how Instagram has been affecting its young users. Time and time again, they found that Instagram is harmful to a large potion of their audience, especially young girls.
According to WSJ, in a 2019 slide summarizing the research, it said that “we make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls.” The documents also mentioned that they have obtained an unprompted and consistent reaction across all groups, where teens would blame Instagram for their increased rate of anxiety and depression.
Facebook has repeatedly downplayed the effects the app has on teenagers. They have also been reluctant to release information on their studies to the public whenever requested. On the topic, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “The research that we’ve seen is that using social apps to connect with other people can have positive mental-health benefits.”
What does Facebook know?
Since this research was obtained internally, we can safely say that Facebook understands the effect they have on teens. Researchers conducting this study are Facebook employees with knowledge regarding how users interact on the platform. According to WSJ, the researchers concluded that some of the problems were only related to Instagram, and not social media as a whole.
There has been a lot of information to unpack from the Wall Street Journal’s investigation on the topic. This has only been the beginning, so stay tuned to future posts on the topic. We will also be talking about the Facebook whistleblower more in the near future.
If you want to read about the six-hour outage, you can find it here.
Featured Image Credit: Reuters