The Wall Street Journal released an article detailing how Facebook-owned Instagram hid internal research on the damages of Social Media.
As this story breaks, it appears that FB executives gathered their own internal data on how teens and kids are negatively impacted by their product, yet chose not to release it and even denied it under oath at a congressional hearing.
Here’s what we know:
- Studies took place over the past 3 years to see what impact Instagram has on teenagers.
- A 2019 presentation slide said: “We make body-image issues worse for one in three teenage girls”
- 32% of teenage girls surveyed said when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse
- 13% of UK teenagers and 6% of US users surveyed traced a desire to kill themselves to Instagram
- Facebook is currently creating an Instagram app for Kids
Facebook responded with a statement defending their research and saying the WSJ article is casting an unflattering light on pure efforts they were making. Instagram has measures in place which are meant to direct users away from dwelling on certain topics, and provides information for local mental health organizations if users need it.
Critics in child and teen advocacy groups claim the company is putting profit before people by continuing to market a product that is harmful and not being transparent on their findings. Various members in Congress have expressed a desire to introduce a bill that would require platforms like Facebook to submit reports to the FTC on their impact on children and teens.
This news probably didn’t shock parents, pastors, or anyone in youth ministry. It’s a great reminder to show love and kindness to teens (even if they tell you not to part your hair to the side) and to pray for parents and pastors. And go buy your local Youth Pastor a cup of coffee. They need it.