Leaked documents show Facebook understands how harmful Instagram is to teenage girls

midian182

Posts: 7,168   +65
Staff member
Why it matters: Most people know Instagram can have a negative impact on mental health, especially for teenage girls with body image issues. Even Facebook knows this, as shown by internal research it has carried out over the last three years that it kept secret.

Leaked Facebook documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal show that the social network has spent the last few years examining the effects Instagram has on younger users' mental health. The company has long insisted that social media can positively impact users' state of mind, but its own research appears to contradict those statements.

"We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls," reads a slide from one internal presentation in 2019. "Thirty-two per cent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse," researchers said in another presentation from March 2020.

"Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression. This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups."

The results of a study of teens who had suicidal thoughts found that 13% of British users and 6% of American users could trace their issues back to Instagram. Elsewhere, more than 40% of Instagram users who reported feeling "unattractive" said the feeling began on the app. About a quarter of the teens who reported feeling "not good enough" said the issues started on Instagram.

"Aspects of Instagram exacerbate each other to create a perfect storm," the researchers said.

Studies showing the detrimental effects Instagram has on younger people's mental health have been around for years, but Facebook has played down any link. In March, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who was reportedly informed of the findings last year, said that social media was more likely to have a positive impact on mental wellbeing.

Defending plans to launch an Instagram for under 13s, Zuckerberg told a congressional committee "I believe the answer is 'yes,'" when asked if the company had researched the app's effect on children.

Senators in August asked Facebook to send its internal findings that showed the impact Instagram has on youth mental health. It sent a six-page letter that did not include any company research.

Facebook recently rolled out the ability to hide the Like count on its platform and Instagram after experimenting with the option for several years. It's hoped that the move will ease the pressure on those people, particularly younger users, who equate social media popularity with self-worth.

Instagram's head of public policy, Karina Newton, responded to the Wall Street Journal report in a blog post. Newton said the story "focuses on a limited set of findings and casts them in a negative light."

"We're exploring ways to prompt them to look at different topics if they're repeatedly looking at this type of content," Newton added. "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."

Permalink to story.

 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,249   +7,023
There is more than enough evidence of Fakebooks harmful activities that they need to be held fully accountable. In as much as itś documented they have done this knowingly should be more than enough to hold them criminally liable, starting at the top. AND any Federal laws that protect them and any other internet companies from legal responsibility need to be reversed. We´ve heard enough lip service from the government; itś long overdue to act and give ¨the people¨ their rightful devices to hold these companies responsible for their actions.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 499   +845
Do your kids a favor, teach them how awful social media $hit is. Try to monitor their use of internet and what they access.

I don't let my kids use that crap and constantly tell them how demoralizing it can be because of nasty people, even if it is just a few people that make it nasty, it's not good to use.
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,679   +1,731
TechSpot Elite
Have you met teenage girls? They do the bulk of the shaming and influencing of other girls. What boys think is a secondary concern.
I'm just basing what I said on the Facebook internal documents I read.
But something I read after my post (thanks to @bviktor) that surprised me is that just as many boys are also the target of these ignorant freaks.

But anyway, I raised 2 girls that were teenagers at one time of course and problems their friends faced in school was from boys.
 

pcnthuziast

Posts: 1,171   +897
I may be in a minority with my opinion, but in general I see most social media as more of a malignancy than a useful tool. Not that my desire is for the world not to be connected so robustly in real time, but that there is a fine line between the freedom and utility they provide and the capacity for that freedom and utility to be used for deception and harm. Such is human nature I suppose.
 

theruck

Posts: 384   +223
There is more than enough evidence of Fakebooks harmful activities that they need to be held fully accountable. In as much as itś documented they have done this knowingly should be more than enough to hold them criminally liable, starting at the top. AND any Federal laws that protect them and any other internet companies from legal responsibility need to be reversed. We´ve heard enough lip service from the government; itś long overdue to act and give ¨the people¨ their rightful devices to hold these companies responsible for their actions.
get in the back of
the row, TV and false adverts first
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 568   +432
It's not just Instagram - Comparison is a killer of Joy . Good reviews make you a happy for a short time , bad reviews make you sadder for a longer time .
That does not mean we need to be people of Walmart ( I sure most customers in Walmart are fine )
So is good to make an effort - do it for yourself .
I think it's hard to get a good answer.
But accept it's real.
Yeah son, daughter - I was self conscious at your age to , probably most of the kids are. I worried again my pimples/spots , that I had crap hand me down clothes or whatever .
There always s going to be some cool kids to hangout with as they have a huge house, swimming pool, dirt bikes , private box at the big game . Some of those kids are really nice as well.

But as you get older you realise most of your concerns were not that important - that may not help you now - who knows . Think about the boys and girls who you really like or admire - I sure it's not for shallow reasons . Most kids who put others down - do not know any better or are full of fear and trying to divert attention .

We all know a certain amount of self belief/confidence is sexy - but nearly all of us still fear rejection to some degree even in our middle years .Fearful to leave a job or whatever .
Most tech nerd guys probably didn't even realise some woman was hitting on them at Uni - oh she is just being friendly to me .
As a parent - accept your kids , sympathise or emphasize and show confidence in yourself - as I said there is no easy answer- though I think having a few strings to their bows helps . If they have uncaring parents or overly controlling ones , and only school - then that could exacerbate it
 

geogan

Posts: 21   +14
This is probably the reason all these insta-thots accounts get shut down continually these days... most are only there as a shop window to sell their onlyfans money-making accounts to the hordes of simps on instagram. They used to get into the millions of (mostly male) followers to their instagram account before the account shut down and they spring up again with a new name. But its always the same - redirecting lonely men/boys to their paid-for onlyfans content. Pathetic money-grabbing parasites.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,249   +7,023
get in the back of
the row, TV and false adverts first
Sorry partner but youǘe missed the mark. Television and advertisements on television ARE regulated and both the creator and broadcaster can be held legally responsible for their content. Social Media and internet companies are not regulated, which is why we see the quantity of misinformation and hate speech that is there. In fact Fakebook promotes this because it causes more viewers to look thus generating more revenue for the company.
 

theruck

Posts: 384   +223
Sorry partner but youǘe missed the mark. Television and advertisements on television ARE regulated and both the creator and broadcaster can be held legally responsible for their content. Social Media and internet companies are not regulated, which is why we see the quantity of misinformation and hate speech that is there. In fact Fakebook promotes this because it causes more viewers to look thus generating more revenue for the company.
now read the article again and maybe you find out that you are off topic
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,800   +2,155
TechSpot Elite
What this article doesn't cover is the fact that Instagram is probably also harmful to teenage boys as well. Since society doesn't give a damn about the well-being of males, they are deliberately excluded from this article.

I wonder when society will figure out that everything that bothers females also bothers males (because we're human too) but males are discouraged from expressing it. You'd think that sociologists would know better since all adults were teenagers at some point. Tuvok from Voyager had a great line that was a perfect metaphor of what it's like being a man:
5pconu.jpg
 
Last edited:

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,800   +2,155
TechSpot Elite
Right, it surely only affects girls. Gotta love the gender bias.
Society doesn't give a rat's gluteals about guys. Nothing is considered a problem until it affects women as much or more than men.
Not only, just about 80 or 90%, Mostly because it's the boys doing the shaming.
Sorry Scav but I couldn't disagree more. Teenage girls are perhaps the most diabolical human beings on Earth (except for actual psychopaths) and I'm kinda surprised that you don't know that because any adult woman would tell you if you asked them.

I'd say that the vast majority of the "boys" doing the shaming are girls pretending to be boys. Let's be honest, if a boy sees a picture of a girl that he thinks is ugly-looking, he moves on to the next pic as quickly as possible. We don't linger because we're driven to find what we're looking for, in this case it would be pics of girls that we find attractive, everything else is background noise.

Anyone who sticks around to bother commenting negatively is most likely a female trying to make herself feel better. It's not easy for us guys to understand the inner workings of the female mind but this is definitely one of the ways that it does. Shaming each other is to women what watching pronhub is to boys when it comes to the internet.

The male and female mind are actually the same in most cases, liking and disliking the same things. The biggest differences are the levels of importance to each like and dislike. It's just not important enough for a guy to tell a woman that he finds her ugly because it doesn't accomplish anything for us except maybe (if the guy's a real a$$) it gives a giggle. However, it accomplishes A LOT for a woman, emotionally because it makes her feel powerful and it makes her feel like she has weakened a rival female.

Think about this for a second. The majority of accounts on Instagram are female. Why do you think that this is? After all, it's quite uncommon for women to outnumber men ANYWHERE on the web but in this case, the difference is very pronounced. The reason for that is it is a thing that women can weaponise against each other to great effect.
Have you met teenage girls? They do the bulk of the shaming and influencing of other girls. What boys think is a secondary concern.
Yep, and we couldn't be bothered to type negative remarks because we're too busy looking for hotties to compliment. That's what's more important to us, not making girls feel bad (unless we're psychopaths but that's a whole other topic).
I'm just basing what I said on the Facebook internal documents I read.
But something I read after my post (thanks to @bviktor) that surprised me is that just as many boys are also the target of these ignorant freaks.
I'm not surprised. We're human beings too you know.
But anyway, I raised 2 girls that were teenagers at one time of course and problems their friends faced in school was from boys.
That's because they don't "run to daddy" for problems with other girls. They know damn well that you'll have no idea what to do in that case and so they go to mom or sis or BFF. Just because you didn't hear about it doesn't mean that it didn't exist. I didn't tell my parents about every problem I had and neither did you. Did that make them any less real? Of course not.
This is probably the reason all these insta-thots accounts get shut down continually these days... most are only there as a shop window to sell their onlyfans money-making accounts to the hordes of simps on instagram. They used to get into the millions of (mostly male) followers to their instagram account before the account shut down and they spring up again with a new name. But its always the same - redirecting lonely men/boys to their paid-for onlyfans content. Pathetic money-grabbing parasites.
If the guys are stupid enough to fall for that crap, so be it. If I were to encounter something like that, it would be immediately reported.
Sorry partner but youǘe missed the mark. Television and advertisements on television ARE regulated and both the creator and broadcaster can be held legally responsible for their content.
If you call the laws that "regulate" commercials "regulations", I'd love to know what your definition of anarchy is. How many auto manufacturers have tiny print in their commercials that need a microscope to read and aren't on the screen long enough to read it? You call allowing something like that "regulation"? Oh man, that's hilarious. Even the regulations that are in place don't get enforced because as long as the right person gets the right amount of $$$ at the right time, the eye turns blind.
Social Media and internet companies are not regulated, which is why we see the quantity of misinformation and hate speech that is there. In fact Fakebook promotes this because it causes more viewers to look thus generating more revenue for the company.
The problem with regulating the internet is that it's the internet. The laws that apply to a site are only those of the country in which it's physically located. That is both a blessing and a curse. Of course, in the USA, if you have billions of dollars the laws don't apply to you. This is especially true if you're a straight white male. Didn't you get the memo?
I've never been on Instagram once. But then, I'm not a narcissist.
I don't have an IG account either. The only reason that I'd ever go on Instagram is to look at hot women but there are other, easier, places to go for that. :laughing:
 

scavengerspc

Posts: 1,679   +1,731
TechSpot Elite
Sorry Scav but I couldn't disagree more. Teenage girls are perhaps the most diabolical human beings on Earth (except for actual psychopaths) and I'm kinda surprised that you don't know that because any adult woman would tell you if you asked them.
Yeah, I was schooled on that earlier in this thread and by my own Daughters not long after. I still don't know what I misread from the leaked docs, but I obviously did miss something.

giphy.gif