Facebook Facing Criticism Following Secret Teen Research

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Facebook-owned platform Instagram has come under heavy criticism after the Wall Street Journal published a report about the social media company’s secret internal investigation into the impact of social media on young users.

Many campaign groups and lawmakers point out that the action shows that the company is putting profit first.

For Andy Burrows, head of online child safety at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, it was “appalling they chose to sit on their hands rather than act on evidence” and for him, “Instead of working to make the site safe, they’ve obstructed researchers, regulators, and government and run a PR and lobbying campaign in an attempt to prove the opposite.”

Among the findings revealed in the Wall Street Journal’s report is a 2019 presentation slide that says, “we make body-image issues worse for one in three teenage girls.” Another slide stated that teenagers blamed Instagram for increased levels of anxiety and depression.

The report also revealed that in 2020, research showed that 32% of teenage girls surveyed said Instagram made them feel worse about their bodies, while 13% of U.K. teenagers and 6% of U.S. users surveyed attributed the desire to kill themselves to Instagram.

The Wall Street Journal report also found that Instagram has conducted several focus groups, online surveys and studies over several years, conducting extensive research on tens of thousands of people that linked users’ responses to their own data about the time spent on Instagram and what was viewed.

For more information, read the original story on the BBC.

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